Before the Hearing
General Board Policy is no rescheduling except for medical emergencies or similar unavoidable reason. Taxpayers should indicate any times they are not available for hearing at the time of filing a petition by attaching a separate note to the front of the appeal form. The Board will make attempts to accommodate scheduling requests when possible and reasonable.
Each case filed with the State Board is individually scheduled and heard. Two or more cases may be scheduled at the same time, upon request or at the convenience of the Board, if there is one owner and the properties are very similar or some other like circumstances exist. The Board will make an effort to accommodate requests of this type but will not always able to do so. Appeals are heard in the county where the property is located.
The appeal form has a box to check if you cannot attend a hearing in person (see Rule R16-4-107 "On-the-Record"). If you have already received a date and time for a scheduled hearing and you cannot attend, you may submit written evidence to support your case prior to the scheduled date of hearing. A telephonic hearing is not available except for immediate emergencies involving health and judicial proceedings. Telephonic hearings require special arrangements with the Board; contact the Board at 602-364-1605.
The scheduling of hearings are driven by the procedures and deadlines outlined in the Arizona Revised Statutes. Refer to the type of appeal listed below for the statutory deadline:
- Residential Petition for Review of Valuation Form DOR 82130(R): According to A.R.S. 42-16165, the state board shall complete all hearings and issue all decisions on or before October 15 of each year.
- Petition for Review of Real Property Valuation Form DOR 82130: According to A.R.S. 42-16165, the state board shall complete all hearings and issue all decisions on or before October 15 of each year.
- Personal Property Petition for Review of Valuation Form DOR 82530: According to A.R.S. 42-16165.3, the state board of equalization shall complete the hearing and issue a decision on or before December 1 of the calendar year in which the taxes are levied.
- Petition for Review of Taxpayer Notice of Claim Form DOR 82179C-1: According to A.R.S. 42-16254.F, upon receiving the petition, the board shall hold a hearing on the disputed issues in the notice of claim within thirty days
- Petition for Review of Proposed Correction Form DOR 82179C: According to A.R.S. 42-16252.G, upon receiving the petition, the board shall hold a hearing on the disputed issues in the proposed correction within thirty days.
- Petition for Review of Notice of Change Form DOR 82130NC: According to A.R.S. 42-16157.C, hearings shall be completed on or before the third Friday in November of the calendar year preceding the year in which the taxes are levied.
According to A.R.S. 42-16163, all notices of hearings on appeals before the state board shall be mailed at least fourteen days before the hearing.
Evidence submitted at any other level of appeal is not transmitted or forwarded to the Board. If the property under appeal is legal class 3 or any other legal class, but under $3,000,000 Full Cash Value, two copies and an original of the evidence are recommended. For all other property appeals 4 copies and an original are recommended.
All appeal hearings are held in the county that the property is located in.
- Maricopa County Hearings: State Board of Equalization, 100 N 15th Ave, Phoenix AZ 85007 (Downtown Phoenix)
- Pima County Hearings: State Office Building North, 400 W. Congress, Tucson AZ 85701 (Downtown Tucson)
The addressed provided above do not specify the room or suite. Please refer to your mailed Notice of Hearing postcard for the complete hearing location.
During the Hearing
At a hearing, the proceedings usually start with the inquiry if the assessor is making a recommendation of a change in valuation or classification.
- Petitioner Presentation: The petitioner (the taxpayer) will then present their case/evidence to support their opinion of valuation or classification, unless a recommendation for reduction is being offered by the respondent (typically the assessor).
- Respondent Presentation: The respondent (assessor) then presents evidence in support of the existing valuation or classification and have the opportunity to rebut the petitioner's case/evidence.
- Petitioner Rebuttal: When the respondent has concluded testimony, the petitioner may offer a rebuttal.
- Hearing Officers: The hearing officers will then ask both parties if they have any questions.
- Hearing Officers: The hearing officers will deliberate and then make a decision.
Note: If the appeal is regarding centrally valued property which is valued by the Arizona Department of Revenue (DOR), then the respondent is the DOR and not the assessor.
The evidence presented by either side may be different than the evidence presented at the informal meeting with the assessor, provided the basis for the appeal remains the same (pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 42-16056.D). There is one exception, if there is a factual error which was identified after the initial filing, that factual error may be raised (pursuant to A.R.S. § 42-16255).
The current valuation has a presumption of correctness and it is the petitioner's burden to prove the current valuation is incorrect. Proof may include, but is not limited to: recent appraisals, affidavits of value or sale; written offers or listings for sale; contracts of building costs; topographical, FEMA floodplain, or other types of maps; photographs; contracts or leases; or any other type of written and/or verifiable proof. Evidence submitted at any other level of appeal is not transmitted or forwarded to the Board, therefore, it is recommended that you submit any evidence you want to be considered either at the time of the hearing or before that date. If the property under appeal is legal class 3 or any other legal class, but under $3,000,000 Full Cash Value, two copies and an original of the evidence are recommended. For all other property appeals, 4 copies and an original are recommended. Grounds for an appeal include, but are not limited to:
- A recent appraisal of the subject property which differs from the assessor's value;
- Documented sales of similar properties (see Affidavit of Value), preferably in the same market area, which indicates a different value;
- Any significant physical condition of your property other than normal maintenance or repairs;
- A location problem specific to your property if it has an influence on market value and is not reflected in the valuation of other properties in the neighborhood or their selling prices;
- Unusual characteristics of your property;
- Adverse terrain features;
- Limited accessibility to your property;
- Governmental regulations or zoning which adversely affects your property;
- Any other facts which should be considered to arrive at an accurate and equitable value.
In general, Full Cash Value should approximate market value defined by the Appraisal Institute as: "the most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeable, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby:
- Buyer and seller are typically motivated;
- Both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their own best interest;
- A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market;
- Payment is made in terms of cash in U.S. dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and
- The price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale."
Note that the first sentence of the definition does not say the actual price paid for a specific property, but the most probable price, therefore, price does not always equal value.
Standard appraisal approaches to value (cost, sales comparison, income) and standard appraisal methods should be used to support your estimate of value. However, assessment by Arizona law requires the valuation to reflect consideration of the current use of the property, not the highest and best use. Classification is also based on the current use or the intended use of the property if the improvements are partially complete. In addition, equity or the value placed on similar properties is also considered.
- The Sales Comparison (Market) Approach of estimating value is a direct comparison of the subject property and sales of properties similar in physical characteristics, location and market influences. Once sales of similar properties are identified and verified, they are adjusted to reflect the value of the subject property. Your county assessor may be able to assist you with current sales information. Be advised that averaging is not a standard appraisal technique.
- The Cost Approach identifies the total cost to reproduce or replace the property at current prices less all forms of depreciation. Reproduction or replacement cost includes all direct and indirect costs such as, labor performed by you or a contractor, materials, permits, architectural drawings, construction financing, and other costs including the current value of the land and developers profit. There are four different types or forms of depreciation; physical depreciation, physical obsolescence (structural), functional obsolescence (a lack of usefulness) and external obsolescence (influences external to the property). This method is most easily and best used for newly constructed properties. This is the most difficult method for older property and requires that a market and income approach be utilized to measure the proper adjustments for physical, functional and economic obsolescence. However, if there is a lack of market or income information the cost approach may be the most applicable.
- The Income Approachis typically used to value investment property such as, apartments, warehouses, and office and retail buildings. The income and expense form (See Rule R16-4-109 "Rules of Evidence") requests actual income and expense dollar amounts; however, the actual investment performance of the property may or may not reflect its true market value. It may only reflect an investment or business value which is not the purpose of the property tax assessment. Fee simple market value is derived from actual income and expense dollar amounts when those amounts are proven to fall within a "typical" and "current" range of income and expense parameters of similar properties.
You should be aware that proper methodology requires consideration of all three approaches to value, but the type of property typically determines which approach should be given the most weight.
Regardless of the basis you use to support your estimate of value; you may not raise any issue not stated in your initial appeal. This does not preclude you from bringing additional or new evidence. There is one exception, if there is a factual error, which was identified after the initial filing, that factual error might be raised pursuant to A.R.S. § 42-16255.
After the Hearing
According to A.R.S. 42-16164, the board shall issue the decision in writing to each party and, in all cases, to the department by mail.