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The original item was published from 2/28/2023 12:47:02 PM to 2/28/2023 12:53:56 PM.

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Posted on: February 28, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Property Tax Assessment Notices - Mailed March 1, 2023

Property Tax Assessment Notices Mailed

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The City of Valdez is pleased to announce to its residents and property owners that the voters ratified the exemption for primary residences on February 7 to increase the exemption from 50,000 to 75,000. Please look for this exemption increase (for eligible homeowners) on your notice to be mailed on March 1. Also, please be aware that many properties will see an increase in the value of their structures. Specifics will be on your Assessment Notice, including contact information for the City’s contract assessor, Appraisal Company of Alaska, as they can answer questions related to assessment values.

Visit the City’s website to learn more about Property Taxes, or access the following resources: 2023 Assessment and Appeal Information, Citizen’s Guide to Property Assessments, and GIS Map Viewer.

If you have questions about the City of Valdez property taxes, please contact the Finance Department at 907-834-3475.

Appraisal Company of Alaska Publication - Tax Assessment Process and Information

Introduction
Properties are assessed so that the costs of schools, public safety, fire protection, and other public services are borne in proportion to the value of each property. The property taxes you pay are based on your property’s assessed value, as determined by the City Assessor.

You can appeal that value if you disagree with the Assessor’s value. Properties are assessed based on constant research for significant facts (sales), which are analyzed to estimate your property accurately and true (fair market) value. Finding the full and true market value involves estimating the price most people would pay for it in the present condition. The Assessor does not create value - people create value through their transactions in the marketplace. State law requires your property to be assessed at its full and true value yearly. The Assessor is legally responsible for studying those transactions and assessing your property accordingly. Values change in the marketplace, whether or not improvements are made to the property. The assessment process is done each year because the market value changes from one year to the next.

This publication describes what you should do before you appeal the assessed value, the steps required to file and present a residential assessment appeal, and the local Board of Equalization role. If you have questions that still need to be answered here, you should contact your Assessor or the City Clerk. The information in this publication has been prepared by the Appraisal Company of Alaska, which oversees the administration of the City of Valdez property tax system. The Assessor's office does not control the total amount of taxes levied. The Assessor's primary responsibility is to determine your property's full and true value (fair market value) so that each property pays a proportionate share of the tax burden. A tax rate applied to your property’s assessed value determines the tax you pay. The City Council determines the tax rate.

Before You File an Appeal
Consult with the City Assessor First - You may not need to file a formal appeal

if you talk with staff from the Assessor's office first. The Assessor can:

  • Explain your property's assessed value.
  • Answer questions about the assessment.
  • Review any additional, pertinent information you may provide.

If the Assessor discovers an error, they may be able to reduce your property's assessed value to correct that error, in which case, you should always submit a written appeal. Your appeal must be submitted by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 31, 2023. Complete an Appeal Form, which is available at the office of the City Clerk.

The Role of the Board of Equalization (BOE)
The Board of Equalization consists of City Council members convened as an administrative review panel. The purpose of BOE is to settle disputes between the city Assessor and property owners. The Board of Equalization, with proper evidence, can reduce, raise, or confirm a property’s assessed value. The Board of Equalization cannot:

  • Reduce your property's assessed value simply because you are paying more taxes than your neighbor
  • Reduce your taxes due to the inability to pay
  • Fix the tax rate, levy taxes, or change tax rates
  • Grant or deny exemptions
  • Extend filing periods
  • Rehear an issue already ruled upon

Filing an Appeal
To appeal the assessed value of your property, you must file an Appeal Form. Appeals will be accepted only within a specific period; late applications will only be accepted if evidence of unforeseen circumstances is provided and the BOE will review it. To be valid, appeals must be filed on the official form. To obtain the appeal form, contact the City Clerk. To be valid, your appeal must contain all the following information:

Consult with the City Assessor First - You may not need to file a formal appeal if you talk with staff from the Assessor's office first. 

The Assessor can:

  • Explain your property's assessed value.
  • Answer questions about the assessment.
  • Review any additional, pertinent information you may provide.

If the Assessor discovers an error, they may be able to reduce your property's assessed value to correct that error, in which case, you should always submit a written appeal. Your appeal must be submitted by 5:00 pm on Friday, March 31, 2023. Complete an Appeal Form, which is available at the office of the City Clerk.

The Role of the Board of Equalization (BOE)
The Board of Equalization consists of City Council members convened as an administrative review panel. The purpose of BOE is to settle disputes between the city Assessor and property owners. The Board of Equalization, with proper evidence, can reduce, raise, or confirm a property’s assessed value. The Board of Equalization cannot:

  • Reduce your property’s assessed value simply because you pay more taxes than your neighbor.
  • Reduce your taxes due to your inability to pay.
  • Fix the tax rate, levy taxes, or change tax rates.
  • Grant or deny exemptions.
  • Extend filing periods.
  • Rehear an issue already ruled upon.

Filing a Property Tax Assessment Appeal
To appeal the assessed value of your property, you must file an Appeal Form. Appeals will be accepted only within a specific period; late applications will only be accepted if evidence of unforeseen circumstances is provided and the BOE will review it. To be valid, appeals must be filed on the official form. To obtain the appeal form, contact the City Clerk. To be valid, your appeal must contain all the following information:

  • Applicant’s Information: Property owner’s name, mailing address, and telephone number.
  • Property Identification: Enter your assessment notice's applicable property identification information.
  • Value: You must enter the value for the Assessor’s value and your opinion.

Reason for Filing an Appeal

  • Decline in Value - The market value of your property has decreased and is no longer as high as the assessed value. Reminder: your appeal must be based on your property’s market value as of January 1 of the year in which you are appealing and is effective only for the year being appealed.
  • Change in Ownership - The market value of your property based upon a change in ownership is less than the Assessor’s value.
  • New Construction - The market value of your property upon completion of new construction is less than the Assessor’s value, or any construction in progress as of January 1 is incorrect.
  • Calamity Reassessment - The reduced value from the Assessor’s reassessment of your property damaged by misfortune or calamity is incorrect.
  • Change in Inventory - Incorrect value(s) on the escaped property (property not initially assessed or those that were under-assessed).
  • Reasons such as “Value is too high,” “Nothing has been improved,” “I just disagree,” “Value changed too much in one year,” “Taxes are too high,” etc. are not reliable; facts must support all assertions.
  • Written Findings of Facts: Provide Assessor with supporting facts and documents that support your reason for appealing the assessed value, for example, photos if there is damage to the property, sales information, appraisal report, engineering report, etc.

Under Alaska state law, THE APPELLANT BEARS THE BURDEN OF PROOF—Alaska Statute 29.45.210(b). The only grounds for assessment adjustment are proof of unequal, excessive, improper, or undervaluation based on facts stated in a valid written appeal or proven at the appeal hearing. The Board of Equalization may raise the assessment if a valuation is too low.

Evidence to Support your Opinion of Your Property's Value
Assessors use three primary methods to determine the value of the property:

  • Comparable sales of similar property approach
  • Replacement cost less depreciation approach
  • Income approach

In most residential appeals, the most reliable type of evidence to support your opinion of “fair market value” is the sale of properties similar to yours. These are called “comparable properties.” In a residential appeal, the best evidence of market value is the sale price, the sale price of the subject property, and similar properties. Commercial properties may require information on rent rolls, leases, income, and expenses.

Paying Property Taxes
Property taxes are due in two equal installments:

  • 1st Half Due: August 15, 2023
  • 2nd Half Due: October 16, 2023

All payments must be made by the deadline. Payments not made online must be received by City Hall by 5:00 pm or be postmarked on the due date to avoid an 8% penalty and 8% interest.

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