Many landlords in Salt Lake County over the last several weeks have opened a seemingly innocuous envelope from the county government, only to nearly have a heart attack over what it told them. Several have been notified that their property taxes have increased dramatically (in some cases almost double what they paid last year). Before you pass out or throw in the towel, there are some steps that you can take to try to reduce the amount of taxes you owe.
Step 1 – Take a deep breath
Stay calm and objective. Handling things professionally and in an organized fashion will help you much more than freaking out will.
Step 2 – If you have a relationship with a professional (Realtor, Appraiser, or CPA) then give them a call
These individuals can help you through the process.
Step 3 – Begin the appeals process
Download the Appeal to the Salt Lake County Board of Equalization here and begin filling it out and gathering the required evidence that the county has overestimated the value of your property.
Step 4 - Know your time frame
Understand that any market value evidence submitted should reflect a value as of January 1 of 2017. Make your comparison and your estimates accordingly.
Step 5 - Review your building assessment characteristics
Look online at the characteristics listed by the county for your property (you can do so here). If there are errors in this then you may have grounds to file an appeal based on a factual error in assessing the property.
Step 6 – Review comparable sales
These properties should have been sold around January 1. You should provide between three and five comparisons with similar style, quality, size, age, location, land area, and characteristics. If possible, you should provide the full-print MLS document from your real estate agent or another authorized user of the Multiple Listing Service.
Reports showing average change in value by area are not helpful in establishing a fair market value on your individual property because they may not be used by appraisers to conclusively establish a value. Likewise, rates per square foot analyses are not helpful because appraisers value more than just square footage of your home.
Step 7 – Collect other market data (if applicable)
For commercial and income producing properties (other than single family residences, duplexes, and condos) provide rent rolls from the prior year ending Dec 31 and expense statements. This will help in determining the value of the property.
Step 8 – Consider hiring a fee appraiser
Just make sure they compile a report effective January 1, 2017
Step 9 – Take another deep breath
Drink your favorite beverage, take a walk, and enjoy a nice sunset. Then get back to work.
Step 10 – Send in your appeal before the deadline
Generally, your appeal is due before September 15th. Send it in either by mail to P.O. Box 144575 Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4575 or in person at 2001 South State Street in the lobby of the north building (a secure drop box is available). If it is going to be late, contact the county directly for more information.
Step 11 – Wait for the county to get back to you
If you provided sufficient evidence then it will be reviewed. The county will often contact you with an “informal reduction proposal”. If not (or if you refuse their offer), then you will proceed to a hearing.
Step 12 – Win or lose, keep on going
If you win, this is the time to celebrate! If you lose, this is the time to raise your rents when your leases expire to cover the costs. Your tenants will complain, but just show them the information from your appeal and educate them.
For more information visit www. slco.org/treasurer