Upcoming 2020 Municipal Revaluations in Connecticut
Thirty-four Connecticut municipalities (see list at the end of this alert) are scheduled to conduct real property revaluations effective October 1, 2020.
In response to COVID-19, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7S earlier this year which, in part, waived the requirement that municipalities perform in-person inspections of all real properties as part of their October 1, 2020 revaluations. In lieu of an in-person inspection, EO 7S authorizes each municipality to send a questionnaire to property owners seeking property-specific information. If you have not already received a questionnaire from your municipality, you may receive one in the near future. Care should be taken to ensure that the information provided on the questionnaire is complete and accurate as it will likely be used in establishing your new assessment.
A revaluation notice containing the proposed new assessment of your property will be mailed in the latter part of this year. The notice usually includes an invitation to attend an informal hearing with the revaluation company or the assessor's office to discuss the new assessment, which should represent 70 percent of the fair market value of your property.
Each new assessment should be reviewed carefully. Even if your assessment has not increased substantially, a challenge may be in your best interest if property or market conditions warrant a lower value. The impact that the current COVID-19 pandemic may have on property values should also be considered. We find that we have the greatest ability to negotiate satisfactory results for our clients during the informal hearing process.
If these discussions do not succeed, the deadline for formally protesting an assessment to a municipality's board of assessment appeals is February 20, 2021, although some communities may extend the date to March 20, 2021. Appeal forms should be available on the municipality's website as the deadline approaches. This protest is required in order to file a Superior Court tax appeal challenging value. Under certain circumstances, a tenant responsible for taxes can file the appeal.
As part of the protest, the owner must furnish an opinion of the fair market value of the property. Great care should be taken in completing the protest application so as not to compromise any appeal rights. Hearings are usually conducted in March and April. A written notice must be mailed to the taxpayer within one week of the board's decision. Boards of assessment appeals may opt to decline a hearing for commercial property assessed above $1 million. We find that boards are frequently taking this option.
If an owner is not satisfied with the board's decision, the next and final remedy is an appeal to Superior Court. The deadline for appealing to Superior Court is within two months from the date that the board's decision is mailed. The case is heard by a judge without a jury.
We encourage you to be proactive in monitoring the revaluation process and your new assessment so that you may take all necessary steps to ensure that the assessment is equitable. The deadlines mentioned here are mandatory and cannot be extended.
Please also keep in mind that assessments of like properties must be equalized. Significant disparities in the values of similar properties may be actionable even if the proposed value of a given property, standing alone, is appropriate.
Should you require assistance at any step in this process, the attorneys and paralegals of Pullman & Comley's Property Tax and Valuation Department have substantial experience in this field.
Connecticut Municipalities Conducting October 1, 2020 Revaluations
- Deep River
- East Hampton
- New Milford
- North Branford
- North Stonington
- West Haven
*Revaluation may be postponed until October 1, 2021