PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL BOARD
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Q. I want to appeal my property tax assessment. Where do I start?
A. The appeal process starts with your local office of the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). Their contact information is available at www.dat.state.md.us or 410-767-1199.
Q. If I am not satisfied with the decision of the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation, how should I proceed?
A. You may appeal the decision of the Department of Assessments and Taxation to the Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board. Be sure to carefully follow the directions provided on the SDAT notice or decision letter. You will have thirty days from the date of the decision to appeal to your local Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board.
Q. Is the Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board part of the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT)?
A. No! The Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board is an independent agency whose members are appointed by the Governor from a list of candidates provided by each of the 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City, within which they serve.
Q. Can I be represented by others or must I present my case personally?
A. Yes. You may authorize in writing an attorney or other person to represent you. A fellow titleholder to the property may appear without written authorization.
Q. Who has the burden of proof?
A. State law requires that the appellant or petitioner bear the “burden of proof” to show that the Department of Assessments and Taxation is incorrect. This means that the petitioner must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that SDAT’s decision was incorrect.
Q. How many copies of my presentation will be required?
A. Four, three for the Board’s use and one for the Assessor’s use.
Q. Can I submit a written appeal or must I appear personally?
A. You can do either one. You or your representative may make your appeal to the board in writing or appear at the hearing.
Q. Can I postpone my case?
A. Yes, but you are allowed a maximum of two postponements. The request must be made prior to your case’s scheduled time. If you should not appear, your case will be dismissed for failure to appear.
Q. What is the date of finality?
A. The date of finality is the January 1st prior to the July 1 tax year under appeal. To clarify: Suppose you receive a triennial assessment for the three years beginning July 1, 2009. In such a case, the date of finality for levy year 2009 is January 1, 2009.
Q. May I record a hearing before the PTAAB?
A. Yes, you may record YOURown hearing, provided that notice of your intent to record the hearing is given to the Clerk of the Board at least (7) days prior to the date scheduled for the hearing. Recording must be on your own equipment and at your own expense.
Q. Why is notice to record requested?
A. This notice period is requested to allow PTAAB to make any necessary security arrangements to bring recording equipment on site.
Q. Can I bring in an appraisal supporting my case?
A. Yes, provided that you have furnished a copy of the appraisal to the assessment office at least ten days prior to the hearing. If the appraisal was made after the date of finality, it should be prepared to reflect your property value on the date of finality. We cannot admit an appraisal unless the ten day rule is followed.
Q. What is the importance of the date of finality?
A. The date of finality is the day on which the assessor’s estimate of property value is fixed. The closer evidence of value is to that date, the more weight it will be given by the Board. Consequently, petitioners are advised to submit sales or their data reflecting value on or before the date of finality.
Q. Can I assume that all evidence used by me during my first appeal to SDAT and all evidence used by SDAT at that time will be entered into evidence at my PTAAB hearing?
A. The short answer to this question is NO. Your hearing before PTAAB is a new hearing, i.e. it is considered as if it were a new case. All of your information or evidence must be submitted again to be considered by the board.
Q. What is the best evidence to use?
A. Ideally, you should use information or comparable sales of property exactly like or very similar to you own, as close to your property as possible, preferably within your subdivision or neighborhood, and as near as possible to (but not after) the date of finality. The further your comparable sales differ from your property as to design, conditions, location, quality of construction, size, or age, the less evidentiary weight it will receive whether submitted by you or by the Assessments Department. You may request more detailed information about your or comparable properties from the Assessment Department.
Q. My property contains physical defects (wet basement, cracked walls, mold, etc). What evidence should I bring?
A. You should provide the board with evidence of the problems (photos, written reports, expert testimony, witnesses, etc.) and evidence as to loss of value (estimates for repair or replacement, market-derived adjustment, etc.)
Q. My lot is non-buildable. What information must I submit to have the lot classified as non-buildable?
A. The board will not change the classification of a lot to non-buildable without written documentation from a government agency. Examples of documentation accepted by PTAAB are: no-perc letter from the Health Department: a signed plat stating that the property is non-buildable: a letter from the Zoning Board stating that the property is non-buildable, etc.
Q. Suppose that after the date of finality the market value of my property declines. Can I appeal?
A. Yes. You may file a “petition for review of real property” with your local office of SDAT for the 2nd and 3rd years of your triennial assessment. Petitions filed before the first workday in January will be considered for the next July 1 tax levy year. The petition for review of real property form is available on the State Department of Assessments and Taxation website, www.dat.state.md.us.
Q. I believe the value placed on my home’s lot is too high.
A. When you appeal your assessment, you are appealing the total value placed on your property, not on its parts (i.e. land or improvements). First, you should present evidence to the Board showing that the total value is excessive, using sales of comparable improved properties in your area. Once you feel you have met the burden of proof that the total value placed on your property is excessive, you can present evidence as to why it is excessive. Examples of such evidence are land sales of comparable lots and estimates to correct deficiencies (e.g., the cost of regrading, repairing septic systems, etc.).
Q. What if I’m not satisfied with the PTAAB decision?
A. The PTAAB decision will set forth your right of further appeal to the Maryland Tax Court. Please be sure to follow its instructions carefully and submit your appeal to Tax Court within 30 days of the date of PTAAB notification to you of their decision. As stated above you may also wish to file a Petition for Review for the second or third years of your triennial assessment.