The Inyo County Board of Supervisors serves as the Board of Equalization for Inyo County in order to hear and decide appeals filed in response to property tax assessments.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO APPEAL
If you own property, each year you will receive a property tax bill from the Treasurer-Tax Collector. The amount of property taxes you pay is determined primarily by a formula based on the value of your property. Property values are a reflection of and are driven by the free market and are the responsibility of the Assessor.
The assessed value of your property is shown on your regular tax bill or on the assessment notice if you received one. If you disagree with the assessed value on your property, you may appeal to your local Board of Equalization within specified timeframes.
A valid and timely Application for Changed Assessment will be scheduled for a hearing before the Board of Equalization. At this hearing both you and the Assessor's Office must separately present evidence to support your respective opinions of value. The Board of Equalization will determine a value based on the evidence presented by both sides at the hearing.
Please Note: You are urged to discuss the basis of your assessment with the Assessor's Office prior to your appeal. Many times, the matter can be worked out with the Assessor's Office. However, such contact does NOT protect your right to an appeal should the matter not be settled. In order to protect that right, you MUST file an Assessment Appeal Application by the final filing date.
Applications - You must file an application for each assessment and each year's enrolled assessed value that you disagree with. Each application deals with that specific assessment, and will not serve to challenge other assessments. This may lead to an appeal being filed each year. (For example, if you file an Assessment Appeal Application to challenge your 2018/2019 regular assessment and you disagree with your 2019/2020 regular assessment, you must file another Application for Changed Assessment, even if you have not had a hearing yet for the pending 2018/2019 application.) If you are appealing the value assessed for more than one parcel, you must submit an Application for Changed Assessment for each of those parcels - one parcel per application.
Checking Assessed Value - If you disagree with the assessed value of your property on the annual Inyo County Tax Roll (Regular Assessment), you must file an application between July 2 and September 15. It is important to check the assessed value of any property you may own each year to ensure that it has been properly assessed. You may do so by checking with the Assessor's Office when the Inyo County values are enrolled. This happens in around July/August each year.
Paying Your Taxes - It is very important to understand that filing an assessment appeal does not relieve an owner of the responsibility for paying any outstanding property tax bill(s), no matter how unfair the owner may feel the bill(s) to be. If you do not pay the bill in a timely manner, you may incur penalties and interest charges that could otherwise be avoided. If you pay a bill and the Board of Equalization subsequently lowers the assessed value, you will be refunded any excess taxes you may have paid. Remember: you only have the right to an appeal if you are current with your property tax payments.
Certain filing time frames must be met as shown below:
- Regular Assessment: If you are appealing the value of your property as of January 1st of the current year, the filing period is from July 2nd through September 15th.
- Supplemental Assessment: If you are appealing the value based on a notice sent to you because your property had a change of ownership or new construction, you must file within sixty (60) days of the mailing of the notice or the postmark date of the notice or tax bill, whichever is later.
- Roll Change: If you are appealing when the Assessor has changed the value on a prior year’s roll, you must file within sixty (60) days of the mailing of the notice or the postmark date of the notice or tax bill, whichever is later.
- Escape Assessment: If you are appealing the value for property which the Assessor discovered was under-assessed or not assessed on a prior year’s roll, you must file within sixty (60) days of the mailing of the notice or the postmark date of the notice or tax bill, whichever is later.
- Calamity Reassessment: If you disagree with the value stated on a reassessment notice sent to you because your property was damaged due to a natural disaster or other calamity (e.g. earthquake, flood), you must file within six (6) months of the mailing of the reassessment notice, or the postmark date of the notice, whichever is later.
- Penalty Assessment: If you are appealing when the Assessor has assessed a penalty, such as for a late filing, you must file within sixty (60) days after the notice of penalty assessment.
View the State Board of Equalization's Assessment Appeals Manual for more information about appeal filing periods.
*NOTE: If the final filing date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a County holiday, an application that is mailed and postmarked on the next business day shall be deemed to have been filed timely.
Appeals must be heard within two (2) years from the date you file your assessment appeal application. You will be notified forty-five (45) days in advance of your hearing by the Clerk of the Inyo County Board of Equalization via mail. The applicant or the applicant’s agent shall confirm attendance at the hearing at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the hearing date using the method designated in the notice of hearing.
If the applicant or the applicant’s agent appears at the scheduled hearing and has not confirmed attendance at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the hearing date, the hearing may be rescheduled to a later date or denied.
Failure to appear at the scheduled hearing may result in the application being denied for lack of appearance unless a postponement has been requested.
Hearings are open to the public.
Should you wish to reschedule or postpone your hearing, contact the Assessment Appeals Clerk at least twenty-one (21) days prior to your scheduled hearing.
The Inyo County Board of Equalization can only consider evidence presented at the hearing. Failure to adequately prepare for your hearing may adversely affect your outcome.
The State Board of Equalization has a guide on the assessment appeals process that has a section that specifically covers how to prepare for your hearing. The guide, known as Publication 30 and titled, "Residential Property Assessment Appeals," is attached below.
The State Board of Equalization also has a short video on preparing for your hearing.
For the hearing, please bring a copy of your hearing notice and eight (8) copies of any supporting documents that you wish to present to the Board, in addition to your own copy of this material. Documents that you intend to present should be labeled Exhibit 1, 2, 3, etc.
Review the information on how to prepare for your hearing.
The Inyo County Board of Equalization is a quasi-judicial body that hears evidence on property assessment disputes between taxpayers and the County Assessor before deciding upon the assessed value of real and personal property in question. The assessment appeal process provides for the "equalization," or the fairness of the assessment, of a property's value.
The Clerk will swear in all those testifying before the Board at the start of the hearing. By law, the Board may act only on the basis of evidence presented at the hearing. Evidence to establish the fair market value is presented by the Assessor’s Office and the applicant, and each side has the opportunity to ask questions relative to the evidence submitted. The Board members may also question each person testifying regarding the case in question. Eight copies of each document presented at the hearing are required. Information presented with an application or to the Assessor’s Office prior to the hearing will NOT be provided to the Board. For more information on appropriate evidence for different types of appeals, please contact the Assessor’s Office.
An applicant’s spouse, adult children, or parents may appear on the applicants behalf.
Consult the State Board of Equalization's Assessment Appeals Manual, also attached below, for more information, or watch this helpful video.
Upon hearing all the evidence, the Board is required by law to determine the value of your property, which means that it can leave the value the same, decrease the value, or increase the value of your property. An Assessment Appeals Board is not bound by the value presented by you or the County Assessor.
Appeals boards, with proper evidence, can:
- Lower or raise a property's assessed value
- Remove a penalty assessment imposed by the Assessor
- Reverse a reassessment based on change in ownership or new construction
Appeals boards cannot:
- Reduce your property's assessed value simply because you are paying more taxes than your neighbor
- Remove penalties and interest for late payment or property taxes
- Reduce your taxes due to inability to pay
- Grant or deny exemptions
- Extend filing periods
- Change the decision of other appeals boards
- Rehear an issue already ruled upon
The Board's decision is final, and may only be appealed to Superior Court.
Consult the State Board of Equalization's Assessment Appeals Manual for more information, or watch this helpful video.
The State Board of Equalization provides a guide on assessment appeals, known as Publication 30 and titled, "Residential Property Assessment Appeals." Although the guide's title indicates that its focus is residential appeals, much of the same information applies to the filing of appeals on virtually any type of property. The guide is attached below.
The State Board has also produced a video designed to provide information to taxpayers regarding the appeals process. The video is titled, "Your Assessment Appeal," and was developed as a collaborative effort between the Board's Taxpayers' Rights Advocate Office and the County-Assessed Properties Division. The video is available on the State Board of Equalization's website and is divided into segments.
Finally, the State Board of Equalization has also made available a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions related to the property tax assessment appeals process.
Videos: Assessment Appeals
ASSESSMENT APPEAL FORMS
CAUTION: Read all instructions prior to filing out an Application for Changed Assessment. These are included with the application. If you have questions about the Application for Changed Assessment form, please contact the State Board of Equalization, Assessment Services Unit at (916) 445-4982 or the Assistant Clerk of the Board at (760) 878-0373.