Responding to Assessor “Annual Review” Requests
Recently, many of our clients have received notices from the county assessor’s office that the county is conducting an “annual review” of their property for assessment purposes. The assessor requests property owners respond to a survey asking for property information, including income and expense information, property square footage, recent improvements made at the property, remaining life of major items (e.g., roof, HVAC, parking lot, etc.), a list of deferred maintenance items, and estimated costs to make repairs at the property. The assessor also asks to view the property.
How should you respond to these types of requests? It depends.
Current Property Tax Appeal Pending
If you have a current property tax appeal pending or believe you may appeal your property assessment in the near future, you should not respond to a county’s property information survey or to requests to view your property. When you appeal your property taxes, there are alternative routes through which you provide property information to the county assessor, including mandatory disclosures, informal disclosures, and formal discovery.
It is important that all communications with an assessor regarding your property and property tax appeal go through your attorney. Similarly, requests to view a property should always be routed through your attorney. This will allow your attorney to make informed decisions about your property tax appeal and will better help your attorney achieve a favorable resolution of your matter.
No Current Property Tax Appeal
If you are not currently protesting your property taxes, you do not have to let the assessor view your property or respond to a survey requesting property information. Whether it would be advantageous for you to do so depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding your property and whether you believe there are any items that would significantly impact market value. The risk, however, is that the assessor will use information that you provide to increase your property assessment. If you are unsure of whether or how to respond, we strongly recommend that you talk to an attorney before completing the survey request.