Real Estate Assessment Review and Appeal Process
The real estate assessment Review and Appeal process begins when Notices of Assessment are mailed in early February of each calendar year. Property owners who contend that the assessed value does not represent the fair market value of their property as of January 1 (effective date) for the assessment year, or that the assessment is not equitable with comparable properties, or is otherwise erroneous, may request that the Office of Real Estate Assessments (Office) review the assessment, or may file an Appeal with the Board of Equalization and Assessment Review (Board). There are three processes in place to contest your current year assessment: a Review of Assessment, an Appeal of Assessment, and filing suit with the Circuit Court.
Review of Assessment
A Review of Assessment is an internal review of the property’s assessment performed by Office staff. During this process, a staff appraiser will discuss your concerns regarding the value of the property with you, look at all pertinent sales and equity comparables, and inspect the property (interior or exterior inspection depending on the wishes of the property owner) to correct any factual errors on the property record. The Office strongly encourages all property owners in disagreement with their property value to file for a Review of Assessment as the first step in the appeal process. The deadline for requesting a Review of Assessment by the Office is in early to mid-March depending on when the notices are mailed. Review forms are considered filed timely with the Office if received or postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service no later than the designated dates detailed in the initial notice and on our web site. Copies of the Review form may also be downloaded from this website, or you may contact the office directly to have a form mailed to you.
Appeal of Assessment
An Appeal of Assessment is a hearing before the Board of Equalization and Assessment Review to determine the value of the property. The Board is appointed by the Circuit Court and the City Council and is independent of the Office. During a Board hearing, state law puts the burden of proof on the property owner to show that the assessed value is incorrect. The property owner, or an authorized representative of the property owner, will present to the Board all evidence of what the value should be during the hearing. It is important to note that the Board will only consider evidence provided by the appellant within the initial Appeal submission. A staff appraiser will then present to the Board information on how the value was initially determined, any information discovered in researching the property’s value and any recommendations by staff for changes to the assessment. The property owner will then have time to rebut the information presented by the staff. After all presentations are made the Board will determine what the assessed value for the current year should be. It is within the Boards’ purview to sustain, lower, or increase the current assessment based on the facts entered into evidence during the course of the hearing. The deadline for filing an Appeal of Real Estate Assessment with the Board of Equalization and Assessment Review is in early June. Appeal forms will be considered filed with the Board if received or postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service no later than the designated dates detailed in the initial notice and on our web site. It is not a requirement that you first request a review of the assessment by the Office before you file an appeal with the Board, but we strongly encourage you to do so.
Property owners who are not satisfied after seeking a remedy through the real estate assessment Review and Appeal process may file suit in the Alexandria Circuit Court within three years of the tax assessment year in question. In order to file a lawsuit, the property owner or the owner's agent must have appealed the alleged erroneous assessment to the Board of Equalization and Assessment Review and the Board must have heard and acted on the appeal. For more information, contact:
City of Alexandria Circuit Court
520 King St 3rd & 4th Floors
Alexandria, VA 22314
BEFORE FILING A REVIEW OR APPEAL PLEASE CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING STEPS:
Step 1: Start by finding out all the facts about the assessment of your property:
- Gather the facts about your property's real estate assessment. For example, what does the assessment office records show the total living area and lot size to be?
- Ask to talk to the appraiser with the Office who appraised your property. Ask that he or she explain why your assessment changed or is assessed at its current level. Ask the appraiser to address your concerns regarding incorrect property data, comparable sales used to determine the assessment, and comparable assessments.
- The assessment information is available from the Real Estate Assessments Information Search on the web, or over the phone (703.746.4646), via e-mail ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or by making an appointment to visit the Office at City Hall, 301 King Street Room 2600.
- The records are available for inspection and copying, by appointment only, in the Office on Monday through Friday from noon until 4 p.m., except on such days when the office is otherwise closed.
Step 2: Gather facts about the assessments of comparable properties in your neighborhood:
Talk to others in your neighborhood about their assessments. You may view the sales in your study group available on the web site and compare those assessed values and sales prices to the assessed value of your property. You may also call the Office to attain the assessments and other comparative information for other homes in your neighborhood.
Step 3: Analyze the information and decide whether you wish to appeal:
Once you have had an opportunity to complete the above items you may decide that your assessment is reasonable. If not, you may wish to file a request with the Office that we review the current assessment, or you may want to file an appeal with the Board. If you pursue the assessment Review and Appeal process, each type of filing requires you to state the reason that you are requesting a review or the reasons why you are appealing the assessment. Having done the research already, you will be ready to clearly state your reasons and present information that supports your position on the correct assessment. Remember, the assessment can be increased by the Office or the Board of Equalization and Assessment Review, as well as lowered.
Step 4: Prepare your submission:
- Once you have decided to file a request for Review of assessment or an appeal, be sure to complete the necessary forms as described in the instructions included with each form by the deadline. If you have questions, each form includes contact information where office staff can be reached to answer your questions.
- It is easier for the Office or the Board to visualize your property and comparable sales and assessments if you include photographs. Also, it is easier for Office staff and the members of the Board to follow your presentation of facts and information if:
- Pages that are attached to the form are numbered
- For commercial property owners or agents to explain differences in previously submitted income and expense data and what is being represented as part of the request for review of the assessment or the appeal.
If you have further questions about the real estate review and appeal process, please call 703.746.4646 during normal business hours, or email email@example.com.