Appealing a Property Value Assessment in DC

by Shilpi Paul

Residential building in Central DC

In early March, DC homeowners generally receive notice of the assessed value of their property, a value based on sales data, field visits and existing land values, among other factors. In many cases, the assessment is deemed too high by the property owner, and he/she appeals the value with the city. This year, the deadline for an initial appeal is next Monday, April 2nd.

If you are moving forward with the appeal, the first step is gathering information to make your case. Check that details like square footage and number of bedrooms are noted correctly in the assessment. Collect sale price information on comparable homes in your neighborhood and check their assessed values in the Property Assessment Database. Some individuals that are appealing sometimes take photographs of nearby homes and the inside of their own home. If you are interested in contacting the assessor, their name is usually noted on the assessment document.

Once you have collected all the relevant information, you have three opportunities to appeal:

  • For your first attempt, fill out and send in this form to the Office of Tax and Revenue, attaching all the data you have collected.
  • If that fails, you have a second chance: a hearing with DC’s Board of Real Property Assessment and Appeals, an 18-member commission comprised of real estate professionals. For the hearing, you will need to bring all the documents you have collected.
  • If both attempts fail, there is a third option: a hearing at DC’s Superior Court. This hearing will involve the assessor and two arbitrators. Again, bring the documents. After you and the assessor present your cases, the arbitrators will make a judgement.

According to the Office of Tax and Revenue, roughly one in five appeals results in a lowered assessment.

See other articles related to: taxes, tax assessments

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_to_appeal_your_property_assessment/5334


  1. JT said at 10:14 am on Tuesday March 27, 2012:

    I did this last year after the assessment (March 2011) came in much much higher than the purchase price (end of February 2011).  There is a specific form for New Owner Appeals that you may want to mention (http://otr.cfo.dc.gov/otr/frames.asp?doc=/otr/lib/otr/income_and_expense_2011/2012_new_owner_appeal_application_final.pdf)

    After a minor decrease offered by the assessor,  I went with the second level appeal, and they agreed that the assessed value should be the purchase price (arms-length purchase market value).  I gathered recent sales information and found that nearly every property was assessed tens to hundreds of thousands below their purchase/market prices.  I was the only oddity. 

    For 2012, the assessor increased the old jacked up assessment (nearly 20%), so of course, I’m appealing again.  Wish me luck!

    Also, the DC Office of Tax and Revenue has a rule in place to provide a credit for any increase to your property taxes beyond a 10% annual increase. But I have not seen that in action (yet).

  1. PTB22 said at 11:29 am on Tuesday March 27, 2012:

    I had a similar experience to the poster above. I purchased last year and the tax assessment was significantly higher than my purchase price and the assessment of other houses on my block. I took it through the second assessment phase (which I found to be very fair) however this year it’s shot back up…

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾