The deadline for appealing local property taxes in Connecticut is approaching. If you are considering appealing local property taxes this year, the following is a general explanation of Connecticut’s appeal procedure and deadlines.
Real and personal property is assessed as it exists on October 1 of each year, the uniform assessment date for all cities and towns in Connecticut. Connecticut law mandates the assessment of all property at 70% of its fair market value. The total assessed value of all taxable property, as determined by the assessor on October 1, is called the “Grand List” and is typically published on or before January 31 of the following year. The actual amount of taxes payable is not established until a mill rate is set in the spring following the Grand List date. In almost all municipalities in Connecticut, taxes for each October 1 Grand List are payable the following July 1 and January 1 (i.e., taxes on the October 1, 2013, Grand List will be payable in two installments, which are due July 1, 2014, and January 1, 2015). A few municipalities have adopted a single-payment system in which the tax payment is due in full on July 1.
In years when a revaluation occurs, notices of assessment are sent to property owners on or before January 31; in non revaluation years, no new notice is sent. However, a new assessment may be sent to reflect an addition to or the demolition of property or to correct an error in a prior assessment notice. The value shown on the notice is often the assessed/taxable value (70% of full value), as opposed to the fair market value or full value on which the assessed/taxable value is based. When reviewing the taxation of property, one must take care to compare corresponding values; an assessed/taxable value may not be acceptable once it is converted to fair market value or full value.
A property owner wishing to file an appeal must commence the process by both appealing its assessment to and meeting with the local Board of Assessment Appeals (“BAA”). In addition to a property owner, a tenant with a recorded notice of lease, an obligation under the lease to pay real property taxes and permission under the lease to appeal may file an appeal. The right to appeal of others who have an interest in the property (e.g., lenders) will be governed by agreements that may exist with the property owner or tenant. No court appeal can be maintained without first filing an appeal with the BAA and appearing before the BAA (the BAA does have the right to decline to hold a hearing for an appeal relating to commercial, industrial, utility or apartment property that has an assessed value greater than $1,000,000.00, in which case the appeal must be taken to the Connecticut Superior Court no later than two months after notice of the BAA’s decision to forgo a hearing is sent).
Applications for an appeal to the BAA must be received on or before February 20 (unless that date is extended as allowed by statute). The tax assessor should be contacted to obtain the application form and confirm the actual filing deadline. If an application is not received by the deadline set by the city or town to receive applications for an appeal to the BAA, the right to appeal a tax assessment may be lost for that assessment year. The BAA holds hearings during the month of March (or April if the town has extended the filing deadline) and a decision will be rendered thereafter. A taxpayer must appeal the BAA’s decision to the Connecticut Superior Court within two months of the date that notice of the BAA’s decision is mailed. If an assessment is appealed, a taxpayer has the right to limit its tax payment by between 10% and 25% of the tax payment due, subject to statutory limits based on a property’s assessed value; however, in deciding whether to retain any portion of the tax payment owed, the taxpayer should be aware that if the appeal is unsuccessful or only partially successful, interest will accrue at 18% per year on the unpaid balance.