Duty of Trustee to Challenge Real Estate Assessment by James W. Ryan


Anyone who owns or manages property in his/her capacity as a trustee or some other fiduciary role should be attentive to the possible appeal of periodic property tax valuations. Generally, each municipality in Rhode Island is required to perform a comprehensive revaluation of all property located within the city or town at least every nine years. Municipalities are also authorized to perform less formal reviews every three years. Often, the municipality hires an outside appraisal firm to do the bulk of the work which the tax assessor then reviews and approves. Separate and apart from the never ending increases in the town’s tax rate, the valuation results can vary wildly with little or no relationship to prior valuations. This is particularly true if different appraisal companies are hired by the municipality over the years. Also, due to the significant decline in real estate values over the past three years or so, assessors may be relying on inflated valuations not in sync with the current real estate market.

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