The San Juan County Assessor determines your property tax burden based on an ad valorem (tax) assessment of the property's value. While the intent of the Assessor is to assess the property at its current market value, their procedural method differs from that of the independent appraiser in that the Assessor give greater merit to neighborhood market trends. We at InterIsland Appraisal Company, as independent appraisers, focus on the unique attributes of your individual property, and because of the custom home nature of the islands, do not rely heavily on neighborhood trending.
Currently, San Juan County properties are assessed every three years. (This is expected to be changed to annual assessments in the near future.) Tax assessed values, like the opinion of values provided by the independent appraiser, are based upon the use of comparable market sales, a.k.a. "comps". The difference between the two valuations is that the tax assessor is allowed to choose comps as far back as six years, whereas our independent appraisal guidelines restrict us to one year prior to the tax assessment date, which is often more representative of the current market. As you can well imagine, this difference in the ground rules creates special obstacles to tax assessment challenges. Sometimes, as a property owner, you get the unwanted surprise in the mail telling you your taxes are going up, and it may seem as though your assessment is unreasonably high. Quite often this can be resolved with a phone call. However, if, after discussing your assessment with the Assessor, you still feel that your property was overvalued, the assistance of a professional independent appraiser is often your best bet in proving your case.
That's where we come in.
It is important to note that it makes sense to do your own research before determining whether to go forward with a property assessment appeal, especially before you make the decision to go “toe-to-toe” with your independent appraisal in hand. At InterIsland Appraisal, our service includes many non-confrontational strategies which have proven successful without challenging the assessor’s appraisal with one of your own. It is often the case that you will have a hearing on your assessment appeal before the Board of Equalization and will need the appraiser you've hired to testify on your behalf. Be assured that at InterIsland Appraisal, we are able professionally and persuasively to testify at appeal hearings.
Please remember that the Tax Assessment challenge process can be a lengthy one, often requiring more research and preparation than a standard bank appraisal, which does not require the attempt to discredit one value (theirs) before presenting our own. We ask that we are informed of your decision to challenge your assessment as early as possible so that we can present a successful case.