What is the State Board of Tax Appeals role?
The Board of Tax Appeals is an independent state agency that holds hearings on property tax matters that have been decided by a county board of equalization. If you have not yet filed an appeal with the county BOE you will need to file an appeal there before filing with the BTA.
Who may file an appeal?
The property owner, the person responsible for paying property tax, or the county assessor may file to appeal an order or decision issued by a county BOE.
What if the board of equalization rejects my petition without ruling on value?
If the BOE issues an order denying your appeal or request to reconvene you may file an ‘other agency action’ appeal. You will be appealing the BOE’s denial order, the BTA cannot rule on the value of your property, only on whether the BOE’s decision was correct. Other agency action appeal forms can be found on the BTA’s Forms and Publications
Can the Board of Tax Appeals increase the value ordered by the board of equalization?
BTA will set the market value of your property based on the evidence submitted by the parties. The BTA may determine the market value is the original assessed value, the value set by the BOE, your contended value, or a different value.
What if my taxes are due before I receive the BTA's decision?
You should pay your taxes when they are due to avoid any interest and penalty charges. If the BTA’s decision lowers your valuation, you will be entitled to a refund or credit from the county.
Filing an Appeal:
How do I file an appeal with the Board of Tax Appeals?
Where do I get an appeal form?
If you would like to file an appeal with the BTA you must submit two things:
- A notice of appeal form
- A copy of your county board order or decision
You can find notice of appeal forms on our Forms and Publications page.
Appeal forms can be found on our Forms and Publications
page. For informal appeals, you must provide all items required under WAC 456-10-310. For formal appeals, you must provide all items required under WAC 456-09-310.
Please note the BTA does not provide fill-in forms for formal appeals.
What is the difference between an informal and formal appeal?
Persons representing themselves often choose an informal appeal. In informal cases, there are generally fewer items filed and the hearing process is more informal. An informal appeal cannot be appealed to Superior Court.
Formal appeals are typically chosen when parties will be conducting discovery, seeking a protective order, or looking for a ruling on an issue of law. Final decisions in formal cases may be appealed to Superior Court under the Administrative Procedures Act, chapter 34.05 RCW.
What is my deadline to file?
Deadlines vary depending on the type of appeal being filed. For property tax appeals, appeals must be postmarked or received by the BTA on or before the 30th day after the date the BOE mailed your decision. If your appeal is postmarked or received after the 30th day, the BTA no longer has jurisdiction to accept your appeal.
NOTE: Neither the BTA nor DOR can extend a deadline for filing an appeal.
Can I file electronically?
New appeals and submissions for existing appeals are accepted by email at email@example.com
The Board will accept Adobe .pdf, Word, and Excel files.
Please do not file evidence with your appeal. You will be given time to file evidence after your appeal is acknowledged.
What happens after I file my appeal?
BTA will send you a letter acknowledging your appeal and assigning your case a docket number. This docket number is how the BTA references your case and must be included on all submissions. Included with this letter will be a prehearing order, this order will have your submission deadlines for filing submissions. You MUST comply with the dates set in the order or your appeal may be dismissed.
After the deadlines for filing evidence have passed, the BTA will schedule a hearing. A hearing notice will be issued approximately 60 days prior to your hearing date.
What is market value?
Market value is the amount your property would sell for on the open market. State law requires property to be assessed at 100% of its true and fair value. True and fair value is market value.
How can I determine market value?
Do I have to prove market value of both the land and the improvements?
There are three acceptable methods for determining market value:
Sales comparison approach
Or any combination of the three approaches
Market evidence may include any sales of the property or similar property with respect to sales made within the past five years. For more information see RCW 84.40.030(1).
Yes. The BTA will consider the market value of both land and improvements combined in determining a total value for the property. Your evidence and oral testimony should support the total market value of the property under appeal.
What is considered useful evidence?
If my appeal is for my residence which approach is best to determine market value?
Useful evidence helps to prove your contended value of your property and may consist of appraisals, sales, photos, and sworn testimony. Examples of useful evidence:
Sales: Similar properties that sold for lower that your assessed value. Information on sales of similar properties that occurred up to five years prior to the assessment date. These are referred to as comparable sales. Comparable sales occurring after the assessment date may be given less weight. A comparable sales fill-in spreadsheet is available on the Forms and Publications page of the BTA’s website.
Cost to cure: Any significant repairs, updates, or environmental impacts effecting your property. Images showing damage or outdated items when possible are helpful. Ways to prove the costs of repairs, include independent contractor estimates or bids showing the costs to repair or replace the item.
Proof that your property cannot be developed. Including correspondence from the appropriate regulatory agency describing the development restrictions or denying your permit application.
For residential property the sales comparison approach may be most applicable. The best comparable sales are sales of your property or sales of similar properties located in your area which have sold within the previous five years of your assessment date. Sales occurring closest to your assessment date and sales considered the most comparable to your property are given the most weight.
Where can I find comparable sales information?
Can I file additional comparable sales and evidence that is different than what I filed with the County BOE?
You can get comparable sales information from realtors, title companies, or at the Assessor’s Office. Sale properties that sold closest to your assessment date and are most similar to your property are given the most weight. A list of each county Assessor’s websites can be found on DOR’s website here: https://dor.wa.gov/taxes-rates/property-tax/county-assessor-and-treasurer-websites
What comparable sales information should I include?
Yes. You will receive a prehearing order setting submission deadlines with your acknowledgment letter. You have until the submission deadlines listed in that order to file new evidence. If you would also like to rely on the evidence you submitted at the county BOE then you will need to file a statement of reliance. A statement of reliance form is available on the BTA’s Forms and Publications
What are key characteristics?
For each comparable sale include:
the account or parcel number of the property;
the date of sale;
the sale price; and
the key characteristics of the property.
Do maps help?
Examples of key characteristics include:
Location – sales in the same subdivision or neighborhood.
Unit of comparison – lot size, acreage, square feet, and waterfront feet.
Desirable or undesirable features – view or waterfront, access problems or wetlands, access to sewer, septic, or water systems.
Square feet – include all total finished living areas.
Number of stories.
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Garage and or carport.
Out buildings – sheds, shops, storage.
Including a map showing the location of your property and the location of your comparable sales can be helpful.
What if my property is new construction or still being built?
If your home is new construction or in the process of being built, the cost approach may be applicable. The cost approach calculates the cost to replace improvements. For residential property, once construction is complete, the sales comparison approach may be more applicable.
Do I need to put page numbers on my evidence?
Yes. All documents filed with the BTA should have your docket number at the top of the first page and page numbers in the bottom right corner of each page. All documents filed should be identified with “A” (Appellant) or “R” (Respondent), and the document page number. For example, “A3-1”.
Why is the assessor appealing the board of equalization's decision?
An assessor has the same right as a taxpayer to appeal a decision by the county BOE. Although you may have prevailed at the BOE this is a new appeal. By law, the assessed value of your property is presumed to be correct. It is your responsibility to prove your contended value. The BTA will consider the evidence and testimony and may or may not agree with the BOE.
Do I have to respond or attend the hearing?
You may choose not to respond or attend your hearing. However, even if you prevailed at the BOE you still have the burden of proof in this appeal. This means that you must prove your contended value by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence to the BTA. However, if you are the appellant and choose not to appear without notice, your case may be dismissed.
Do I need to submit evidence?
Can I stipulate with the Assessor's office?
You may, but are not required to, submit evidence. If you want to rely on the evidence you filed with the BOE you will need to file a statement of reliance. A statement of reliance form is available on the BTA’s Forms and Publications
Yes, if both parties agree. You may contact the assessor’s office and see if they are open to a stipulation. If an agreement is made, you must notify the BTA and provide a copy of the stipulation signed by both parties and your appeal with the state will be withdrawn.
What will happen at the hearing?
What if I don't attend my hearing?
The hearing procedure is different for formal and informal cases. Informal hearings are structured similarly to formal hearings, but are less complex. Informal hearings will generally follow this structure:
Both parties and their witnesses will be sworn in.
Each party will provide a short explanation of what their evidence and testimony of their witnesses will show.
Next each party will call their witnesses.
Lastly, each party will summarize the testimony and evidence that supports their case.
The Tax Referee may ask questions at any time during the hearing.
For more information on the informal hearing procedure see WAC 456-10-540.
For more information on the formal hearing procedure see WAC 456-09-743.
The Board may decide to make a decision on the record or dismiss your appeal if you do not attend your hearing. You may have a representative attend for you if you file a representative authorization form.
When will I get my decision?
Your decision will be sent to you approximately 90 days after your hearing. If it has been more that 90 days since your hearing and you have not yet received your decision you may contact the BTA for more information.
Can I file a motion in an informal case?
Can I withdraw my appeal?
Yes. A motion is a request for the Board to take some action. There is no need to follow any special format. However, it must
include the following:
- a statement of the relief sought;
- the reason for the relief;
- the amount of time needed; and
- proof of service.
Even if the other party agrees, you must serve a copy of the motion on the other party.
Please note that there are now page limits to motions. Review WAC 456-10-415 to ensure you are within the guidelines.
Your request can be made by letter, memo, or through formalized pleading. A motion form in available on the BTA’s Forms and Publications page.
If you are the Appellant, you may withdraw your appeal at any time by providing written notice to the BTA.