Appealing a Property Value Assessment in DC

by Shilpi Paul

Appealing a Property Value Assessment in DC: Figure 1
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 3:14 pm 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 4:29 pm 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...

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