Property owner participation and education is key to a fair system of taxation. The goal is to ensure all taxpayers are aware of their rights and to make the process as efficient and painless as possible.
Wyoming Statute 39-13-103 directs that all property will be listed, valued and assessed as of January 1 of each year. Assessment schedules must be mailed to all property owners on or before the fourth Monday of April.
Wyoming Statute 39-13-109(b)(i) requires persons wishing to contest their assessment to file a statement with the assessor outlining their reason or disagreement with the assessment, not later than 30 days after the date of the assessment schedule. The assessor and protestant must disclose witnesses and exchange information, evidence, and documents relevant to the appeal no later than 30 days prior to the scheduled county board of equalization hearing.
The assessment schedules mailed by the assessor's office contain the legal description of the property, the estimated fair market value and the assessed value. When the property owner receives the assessment schedule it should be opened immediately and reviewed. Particular attention should be paid to the market value. Does it represent what the property would have been worth if sold on January 1 of the current tax year? If the value is within reason and no other errors are noted on the assessment schedule, further action is not required. However, if you disagree with the value, come in to the assessor's office as soon as possible to initiate the review process.
When the property owner comes into the office, the property record card is reviewed and all property characteristic information is checked for accuracy. This includes square foot size, construction, finished area, out buildings, etc. Any changes may affect the final market value.
During this review, the property owner may provide any information they would like to have considered such as appraisals, market analysis, special conditions, or influences that may result in a change in value.
The owner must provide an action desired, such as their own estimate of value as of January 1 of the current tax year. Statements of "it's too high" or "it's wrong" are vague and not definable.
Confidentiality of Sales Comparables
For residential properties, assessor staff will review the sales comparables for the property. If desired by the owner, a copy of the sales comparables will be provided, but only during the 30 day appeals period. Note: Under Wyoming Statute 34-1-142, sales information is not a "public record" and must be kept confidential. Persons receiving sales information may not disclose it to other individuals. Property owners may disclose this information to the county Board of Equalization in conjunction with any hearing. Due to the confidentiality of the sales information it cannot be mailed, electronically transmitted or given over the telephone.
If after a review the property owner feels the value of his property is still incorrect, he may file an official appeal. Official Appeal of Assessment forms are available in the assessor's office. Copies of the form or statement must be filed with the assessor within 30 days of the date of the assessment schedule. A copy of the rules of practice and procedures for appeal before the county Board of Equalization involving taxation matters are available for the property owner at the assessor's office. An appeal may be withdrawn at anytime by written notification to the clerk's and assessor's offices.
A general order of proceedings follows:
- A hearing time / date is set and owner notified by mail. The county assessor and the person contesting the assessment (petitioner) must disclose witnesses and exchange information, evidence, and documents relevant to the appeal no later than 30 days prior to the hearing. This includes anything that is to be presented as evidence during the hearing.
- The county commissioners serve as the county Board of Equalization. Other persons attending the hearing will include the hearing officer, recording secretary, secretary to the board, counsel for the board, and parties to the appeal.
- The petitioner is first to present evidence or witnesses. Any testimony presented may be questioned by the assessor, the assessor's attorney, or a member of the board.
- The assessor or a representative presents evidence or witnesses. The testimony may be questioned by the petitioner, his agent, or a member of the board.
- After all testimony and evidence is presented, a brief closing statement may be made by each side.
- The board will notify participants in writing of their findings and any appeal action available to them no later than the first Monday in October.