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Chatham County plans for tax appeals

Posted Friday, February 18, 2005

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Anticipating that about 10 percent of taxpayers (or 3,500 people) will appeal their property tax valuation, Chatham County is making plans to handle the appeals. Tax notices were mailed on Monday, February 14. The County expects a substantial number of phone calls and visits to the Tax Office beginning next week. Taxpayers have until February 28 to file an informal appeal with the Chatham County Tax Office.

The Tax Office is offering taxpayers two ways to appeal their taxes: by sending in the form attached to their tax notice or calling 542-8287 to schedule an appointment.

Taxpayers are encouraged to use the form attached to their tax notices. Taxpayers who choose to visit the Tax Office may encounter service delays and parking difficulties, particularly on court days.

Taxpayers who wish to meet with a property appraiser should call the Tax Office at 542-8287 (before March 1) to schedule an appointment. During February 28 to March 11, appraisers will offer both telephone and office appointments from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Tax Office will review the information, perform other research as necessary, and notify the taxpayer within 12 weeks of its decision.

Evening appointments are being offered to accommodate taxpayers who work during the County’s normal operating hours.

The County is also taking steps to deal with the heavy volume of phone calls it anticipates.

However, taxpayers who call to schedule an appointment may still be routed to voice mail. Callers are encouraged to leave a message and someone will return their phone call within two working days.

The Informal Appeal, a voluntary process, should be less time consuming for the taxpayer than appealing to the County Board of Equalization and Review (Board of E&R). It also provides the Tax Office with the opportunity to make adjustments in values that it believes are warranted. Horton hopes to handle the majority of appeals through the informal process. All taxpayers who go through the informal appeal process will be notified of the Tax Office’s decision and will have the opportunity to appeal to the Board of E&R.

Taxpayers who don’t choose to go through the informal process and who want to preserve further appeal rights must file an appeal with the Board of Equalization and Review. Horton expects that about one percent (or 350) of taxpayers will do so.

Horton anticipates that the Board of Equalization and Review will convene sometime in April and could adjourn as early as the end of May. Taxpayers may file an appeal until the board adjourns. After that, property values are set.

It is important that taxpayers who disagree with their values either appeal through the informal process or file an appeal with the Board of E&R. Whichever process taxpayers choose to follow, Horton advises them to file their appeal early.

Taxpayers may appeal decisions of the Board of E&R to the NC Property Tax Commission.

Contact: Kim Horton, Tax Administrator, (919) 542-8250

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