Data Driven Values and the Assessors Who Ignore Them

Assessing property value is an art form. No one denies that. In theory, you start with market data, apply your experience and logic, and arrive at a fair assessment. But theory is not practice. Despite the job description to let data demonstrate the value, we have found the opposite happening.

Over and over again.

In court case after court case, we find that assessors cannot rationally explain the values they assigned properties. It seems as if they just look at who owns the property (for example, a big box retailer) and figure best to ask the most and forgive the lowest. For a while this probably wasn’t an issue – large corporations just forked over the money, and smaller businesses couldn’t afford the overhead of lawsuits. Can’t fight city hall, right?

WRONG.

Welcome to the computer age. We’ve got a not-so-secret weapon against these kinds of tactics: USAPTA’s Pinpoint Property Tax Finder. This software allows one to see how property values stack up against each other. And in case after case, this database reveals questionable behavior by people involved in the process, from Selectmen to Commissioners.

Here’s what happens: we review the data and find inconsistencies in valuations. We notify the county, but they don’t do anything. Once we take them to court and win, the retribution begins. Suddenly, nobody wants to even consider settling with us. So, we sue again, and in discovery, all manner of irrelevant information is requested.

The goal of all this mitigation is NOT to punish assessors or cause conflict. It’s to get a fair property assessment from the taxation body. Large corporations are just as important to local economies as small businesses, if not more so. They want a fair shake – it’s their right.

Robert Hill Law, Ltd uses the services of USAPTA as consultants and expert witnesses to identify true market value, and ultimately win for their clients. Read this supporting affidavit that makes the case.

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