Property owners in Westport who saw a large increase in their municipal real estate tax assessment from an October 2015 revaluation are likely considering the merits of a tax appeal. If this question is still on the table, be advised: quick action is needed to keep the door open for adjustments in the current 2016 tax year. The Town of Westport’s deadline for filing a property tax appeal is now less than two weeks away.
Town of Westport real estate tax appeal deadline
Under valuation law, those who believe a real estate tax assessment does not accurately reflect the property’s fair market value as of the valuation date have a right to challenge the assessment. However, specific timeframes apply. To protest an assessment on the October 1, 2015 Grand List, a written appeal must be filed with the Board of Assessment Appeals on or before February 20 of the next year. Because the statutory deadline for 2016 falls on a Saturday, appeals must be filed with the Town of Westport’s Board of Assessment Appeals by Monday, February 22, 2016.
Those who own real property in different towns should be aware that while Connecticut municipalities often extend the filing deadline in the year following a revaluation, this is not the case across the board. For instance, property owners in Greenwich and Bridgeport have been granted an additional month to decide whether to pursue an appeal, while the Town of Westport did not extend a comparable grace period. View a list of cities and towns that conducted a real estate revaluation in 2015.
What’s next? Preserving your right to appeal a property tax assessment
For those surprised by a significant increase in a municipal tax assessment, weighing the merits of an appeal is a common next step. But what if the filing deadline is imminent and property owners are still unclear on the path forward? Consider the following avenues.
- File with the Board of Assessment Appeals by the stated deadline to preserve the right to pursue a challenge. In most cases, property owners who do not meet the Board of Assessment Appeals’ filing deadline lose the ability to challenge the assessment in Superior Court for the current tax year. Over the course of a five-year revaluation cycle, filing an appeal early in the process maximizes the potential tax savings.
- Gather documentation to support the appeal. Independent appraisals, comparative sale listings, income statements and commercial lease agreements can all be utilized to support your position. Learn more about the steps for appealing a revaluation.
- Consider engaging professional support. Every situation is different, and complex valuation factors will likely to come into play for high-end waterfront properties or commercial property such as retail space and buildings rented to tenants. Partnering with experienced real estate appraisers and legal counsel early in the process can save both time and tax dollars.
- Plan for next steps. Property owners who have filed with the Board of Assessment Appeals and do not receive a favorable decision have an additional two-month window for filing an appeal of that decision through the Superior Court. Know your options for pursuing a tax adjustment, and be prepared to take additional action within the allotted timeframe.
While avenues remain open to pursue a property tax appeal in the Town of Westport, time is running short. To preserve the right to seek an adjustment in 2016, remember to file a written appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals by Monday, February 22nd.