Board of Assessment Appeals Deadline Reminder
By: Philip C. Pires and Jason A. Buchsbaum
As numerous municipalities finalize their revaluations, taxpayers should remember that their deadline to appeal their tax assessment is fast approaching in February 2023. Connecticut statutes require that every property be assessed at 70% of its fair market value as of the revaluation date. Taxpayers in the following municipalities which just completed a revaluation should carefully review new assessments to determine that they are based upon an accurate value: Ansonia, Bethel, Bristol, Canaan, Cromwell, Danbury, East Haddam, East Windsor, Farmington, Glastonbury, Goshen, Granby, Guilford, Middletown, Morris, Naugatuck, New Britain, North Canaan, Orange, Plainfield, Preston, Redding, Roxbury, Simsbury, South Windsor, Sprague, Sterling, Stonington, Warren, Waterbury, Waterford, Wilton, and Winchester. Even if your community did not recently complete its revaluation, you may still contest your assessment if you have not previously appealed and obtained a reduction.
Any taxpayer claiming to be aggrieved by the property assessment must first bring an appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals (the “BAA”) in the municipality where the property is located. This appeal is made by submitting a form to the Assessor that can be obtained from the Assessor’s office in the municipality and is ordinarily available on the municipal website. The property owner can submit with the appeal form any documents or evidence it has to support the appeal. By statute, taxpayers have until February 20, 2023 to appeal to the BAA, but because that date falls on a legal holiday this year, we encourage taxpayers to ensure that their appeals are filed by Friday, February 17, 2023. Some municipalities are specifically requiring that appeals be received no later than February 17.
Some communities have extended the deadline to appeal to the BAA until March 20, 2023. These communities include Canterbury, Danbury, Durham, Enfield, Groton, Meriden, New London, Norwalk, Norwich, Orange, Stonington, Torrington, Vernon, Waterford, Wethersfield, and Willington. Please note that this list includes municipalities that did not complete their revaluation as of October 1, 2022. You should check with your local assessor’s office to confirm the appeal deadline in your community and determine whether it has been extended.
After the appeal is filed, the BAA will schedule a hearing to review the appeal. The BAA is an administrative body composed of citizens of the municipality. The members of the BAA listen to the taxpayer’s complaints and arguments about the assessment of the property, and they have the authority to decrease – or increase – the assessment. Hearings before the BAA are informal, there is no judge or jury, and there are no rules of evidence. In some towns, the appeal will be heard by a single member of the BAA who will then confer with the full BAA at a later date to reach a determination concerning the appeal. A taxpayer may appear alone, with or without counsel, and with or without a real estate appraiser. The BAA hears appeals for all types of property within the municipality, from single-family residential properties to complex commercial and industrial properties. If your property is commercial or industrial and valued at more than $1 million, the BAA may decline to give you a hearing, which is tantamount to a denial of the appeal.
The BAA will issue a written notice to the taxpayer indicating whether the property value will be increased, decreased, or remain the same. If the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the BAA’s decision, the taxpayer may appeal that decision to the Superior Court. Appeals to the Superior Court must be taken within two months of the date the BAA mails notice of its decision to the taxpayer.
Taxpayers should make the best presentation possible to the BAA, with the hope of obtaining a favorable decision and avoiding the time and expense of an appeal to Superior Court. Additionally, some tax appeals simply do not involve enough money to justify a trip to Superior Court, which makes the quality of the presentation to the BAA even more important.
While the best time to challenge your assessment is in the first year of revaluation so that you can obtain the greatest benefit over a five-year period, tax assessments can be challenged any year on the same schedule outlined above. In particular, if your property was revalued as of October 1, 2021, and you missed the deadline to appeal in 2022, you should still consider taking an appeal this year because you could still achieve four years of tax savings. The following municipalities completed their revaluations as of October 1, 2021: Andover, Ashford, Beacon Falls, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Colchester, Columbia, Cornwall, East Hartford, East Haven, East Lyme, Easton, Enfield, Griswold, Groton, Hartford, Hebron, Killingworth, Lisbon, Manchester, Meriden, Middlebury, Middlefield, Milford, Montville, Plainville, Plymouth, Portland, Salem, Shelton, Thomaston, Trumbull, Vernon, Westbrook, West Hartford, Wolcott, and Woodstock.
If you are considering challenging your assessment or would like more information about tax appeals in general, one of our experienced tax appeal attorneys can walk you through the process and evaluate your situation. Our firm handles tax appeals throughout Connecticut.
For additional information about the tax appeal process in Connecticut, please refer to this article: https://www.cohenandwolf.com/publication-51
Philip C. Pires and Jason A. Buchsbaum are members of the Property Tax & Valuation Group at Cohen and Wolf, P.C. Phil and Jason regularly represent municipal, corporate, and individual clients in all aspects of commercial and municipal litigation, including property tax appeals.