Board of Appeal and Equalization
Local Board of Appeal & Equalization meetings are held annually by townships and cities between April 1st and May 31st. The purpose is to address the concerns of property owners who choose to appeal their current assessment year's valuation and/or classification. These meetings are conducted fairly and objectively according to the law of the state and are vital in the appeals process. They contribute to the attainment and preservation of assessment equalization.
Duties of the Township Board Members and City Council Members for Local Board of Appeal & Equalization meetings are:
To determine whether or not all taxable property in the township or city has been properly valued and classified by the assessor for taxation purposes
To hear all complaints and objections made in person, by letter, or through a representative of the owner
To review the assessments in detail and take action as they deem fair and appropriate while adhering to the general property tax laws, procedures and practices as well as the facts presented
The Assessor's role at the Local Board of Appeal & Equalization meetings is to:
Provide assessment information
Answer questions and support valuations and classifications through the presentation of sales data and factual information
Explain the application of pertinent property tax laws and programs and recommend changes, if applicable.
NOTE: The assessor is not considered a board member and cannot vote in matters requiring action.
My jurisdiction is Open Book. What does that mean?
The Open Book appeal option addresses individual appeals in a less formal manner than at the Local Board of Appeal & Equalization meetings. These generally serve as an alternative to the Local Board of Appeal held by Townships/Cities when the jurisdiction chooses to transfer their appeal powers to the County.
If the property owner and assessor do not come to an agreement at the Open Book Meeting, the property owner may choose to proceed to the County Board of Appeal & Equalization meeting. Ultimately, the property owner may also choose to file an appeal in Tax Court.
I received my Notice of Valuation & Classification for Taxes payable in the following year in the mail. What is it?
It is used to inform property owners about the valuation and classification that has been determined by the assessor for that year. It also contains information regarding appeal options.
The Notice clearly identifies the following information:
- Property ID
- Property information (legal description)
- Property Classification
- Estimated Market Value
- Value of New Improvements (Construction)
- Dates, time and location for the Open Book meeting or the Local Board of Appeals & Equalization meeting, and the County Board of Appeal & Equalization meeting.
Whose burden is it to contest a property assessment?
It is the responsibility of the property owner. In Minnesota, the assumption is that the assessor has properly valued and classified all property.
The property owner is responsible for presenting market and/or factual evidence to the boards of appeal in order to disprove the assessment and support a value or classification that is different than that opined by the assessor.
What actions can be taken by the Local Board of Appeal & Equalization?
The Local Board of Appeal & Equalization has the authority to take action on certain matters such as:
- Reduce the value of a property
- Increase the value of a property
- Add property to the assessment list
- Add improvements to the assessment list
- Change the classification of the property
What actions CANNOT be taken by the Local Board of Appeal & Equalization?
State Statute restricts the Local Board from:
- Considering prior year assessments
- Ordering percentage increases or decreases for an entire class of property
- Reducing the overall assessment of a township/city by more than 1%
- Exempting property
- Making changes benefiting a property owner who refuses access to the property to the assessor
When do I receive notification of the decision made by the Local Board of Appeal & Equalization?
You will be notified by mail of the Local Board's decision. This notification is generally sent by the Assessor's Office within 10 days after the adjournment of the Local Board of Appeal & Equalization meeting.
Local Board of Appeal & Equalization Training:
Legislation enacted in the 2003 session requires that, at each meeting of a Local Board of Appeal & Equalization (beginning with the 2006 local boards), there be at least one voting member who has, within the last four years, attended an Appeals & Equalization course developed or approved by the Commissioner of Revenue.
The Appeals & Equalization course details the responsibilities, procedures and requirements of Local Boards of Appeal & Equalization. The legislation also requires the Commissioner of Revenue to develop a handbook to be reviewed during the course. The contents of the handbook include:
- The role of the local board in the assessment process
- The legal and policy reasons for fair and impartial appeal and equalization hearings
- Local board meeting procedures that foster fair and impartial assessment reviews and other best practices recommendations
- Quorum requirements for local boards
- Explanations of alternate methods of appeal