School districts derive substantial revenue from property taxes. As a result, McGown & Markling recommends that all school districts actively take steps to protect their property valuation – especially when property owners are seeking to reduce property values.
If you do not know whether you have property owners seeking to reduce their property values for tax year 2016, you soon will. A property owner’s deadline for filing a “complaint” expired on March 31, 2017. Now the county auditor must notify your school district of the complaints seeking to decrease property tax valuations and – as a result – your essential school revenues.
Your school district has a legal right – and perhaps even a fiduciary obligation – to file a “counter-complaint” with the board of revision for each inappropriate decrease complaint. It is not uncommon for school districts to only participate in the property valuation process when property owners are seeking to improperly reduce property values. But the time to act is now.
Your school district must file its counter-complaint within 30 days of receiving notice of the property owner’s complaint from the county auditor. If you file a counter-complaint after this 30-day notice period, it will be too late.
McGown & Markling has experience representing school districts in a variety of property tax valuation disputes, and we are prepared to provide your school district with a free cost-benefit analysis to determine whether it is in your school district’s best interest to challenge one or more decrease complaints. For example, it makes absolutely no sense to waste scarce resources on legal fees if the potential tax decrease is of nominal value, there are political and policy ramifications in challenging the valuation of certain residential and commercial properties, and there are circumstances when certain property valuations actually should be decreased.
“McGown & Markling has been assisting the Revere Local School District Board of Education protect its tax base for nearly a decade,” says Revere Local School District Treasurer/CFO David Forrest. “McGown & Markling always provides our school district with timely and prudent counsel to ensure that we only challenge those complaints which unfairly seek to decrease property tax valuations.”
“It is very unfortunate that the nature of school funding requires small school districts like ours to rely so heavily on property taxes,” says Crestwood Local School District Treasurer/CFO Jill Rowe. “McGown & Markling provides our school district with thoughtful guidance on when to challenge property valuations by always balancing the interests of our property owners with the interests of the school district so we can continue to provide an excellent system of public education throughout the Crestwood Local Schools.”