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New Deadline to File for Property Assessment

By Beacon Staff

Some Flathead County property owners will have another opportunity to file for an informal review of their 2009 property value assessment.

The state Department of Revenue recently adopted a new administrative rule that will allow taxpayers across the state who missed the deadline last year to file before June 30.

Cynthia Monteau Moore, the state property assessment division administrator, said property owners can only file for an informal review if they did not do so 30 days after they initially received their assessment.

The informal review would only apply to 2010 taxes and would not retroactively affect taxes from 2009, Monteau Moore said.

Generally, a taxpayer has 30 days to file for the informal review, called an AB-26 form, once they receive their assessment. Since 2009 marked the beginning of a new property reappraisal cycle in the state, all property owners received a new assessment, according to the state Department of Revenue.

After the first year of the reappraisal, the state only sends assessments to taxpayers who saw a change. The new rule, however, will allow taxpayers who missed the initial deadline last year to file an AB-26, despite it being the second year of the reappraisal cycle.

June 30 is the final deadline to file for an informal review during the remainder of this reappraisal cycle, Monteau Moore said. The next cycle begins in 2015.

Scott Williams of the Flathead County branch of the Department of Revenue said roughly 7,800 people filed for informal reviews last year. So far, his office has been able to process about 4,000 of them, he said.

To file an AB-26 form, visit the Flathead County branch of the state revenue department. Williams strongly urged taxpayers who want to file to attach supporting documentation with their form.

About 90 percent of those who requested an informal review last year did not file such documentation, Williams said, slowing down the process.

The effective reappraisal date is still July 1, 2008, so sales and market conditions after that date do not apply, Williams noted.

Thousands of Montanans filed for informal reviews after the 2009 reappraisal caused large property value increases, especially for homeowners in Western Montana.

Some Flathead lawmakers hosted “town hall” meetings in the aftermath of the reappraisal, during which they tried to brainstorm solutions to further mitigate the high valuations. A group of residents also threatened a lawsuit against the state over the reappraisal process.

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