Fairfield property owners, take heed: there won’t be an extension for filing a 2016 property tax appeal

posted by Ronald Kowalski January 15, 2016
Fairfield 2016 Property Tax Appeal Deadline

Do you own property in the Town of Fairfield? New municipal real estate tax assessments were recently mailed out, and for those who are considering filing a tax appeal, it’s important to be aware that strict timelines apply. The deadline for Fairfield property owners is approaching quickly — and will arrive sooner than in several neighboring municipalities.

Deadline for real estate tax appeals: Town of Fairfield

By law, an aggrieved party has the right to challenge a municipal real estate tax assessment on the October 1 Grand List of a given year by filing an appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals on or before February 20 of the next year. Municipalities frequently opt to extend the filing deadline in the year following a revaluation, and property owners in Greenwich and Bridgeport have been granted an additional month to decide whether to pursue an appeal. However, because the Town of Fairfield did not extend the statutory deadline and the statutory deadline falls on a Saturday, all appeals must be filed by Friday, February 19, 2016.

Filing a written appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals by the stated deadline is a critical next step in order to preserve the right to pursue a challenge. In the vast majority of cases, property owners who do not meet the Board of Assessment Appeals’ filing deadline will lose the ability to challenge the assessment in Superior Court for the current tax year. View a list of cities and towns that conducted a real estate revaluation in 2015.

What is the process for filing a property tax appeal?

Carefully review your municipal real property tax assessment notices to determine whether the new assessment for ad valorem tax accurately reflects fair market values as of the October 1, 2015 revaluation date. For real property owners who believe the assessment is excessive, valuation law offers the following progressive avenue for action. (Those who own real property in New York State may be familiar with New York’s corresponding tax certiorari process.)

  1. File a written appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals before the stated deadline to preserve the right to pursue an adjustment through higher channels.
  2. After the Board of Assessment Appeals issues its decision, property owners have a two-month window for filing an appeal of the Board’s decision to Superior Court. Read more about the municipal tax valuation cycle.

Because circumstances vary in every case, it can be extremely valuable to partner with a knowledgeable real estate appraiser and legal counsel to identify the potential tax savings of a valuation appeal, as well as the documentation required to support your claim.

While professional support can be sought at any step of the process, in situations where complex valuation factors come into play, it can be especially helpful to involve experienced counsel early in the process. This could include property tax appeals for commercial property, such as retail space, office buildings and multi-unit residential property that is rented to tenants, or for high-end residential property, including waterfront and estate properties. Read more about property tax appeals for commercial property.

The critical takeaway: for those considering a property tax appeal in the Town of Fairfield, file with the Board of Assessment Appeals by Friday, February 19th to preserve your right to pursue the issue.

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