Thursday, July 16, 2015
Contact: Kelsey White, 435-799-7574 or Billy Hesterman, 801-633-3663

Utah Taxpayers Association Calls for Salt Lake County to Abandon Rule Change

The Utah Taxpayers Association has called upon the Salt Lake County Board of Equalization to abandon its proposed rule change to the county’s property tax appeals process. 

The Board is currently considering a change to its administrative rules that will limit a taxpayer’s ability to rebut the county’s argument in a tax appeal case. Under its proposed 2015 Administrative Rules, the Board has proposed that appellants may only submit evidence at the time of the initial appeal filing. This change will not allow a property owner the ability to respond to the County Assessor’s claims when an argument is made with the Board of Equalization, except in certain limited circumstances.

“This is about due process,” said Billy Hesterman, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association. “This rule change tips the scales of power towards the government in tax appeals cases by limiting a taxpayer’s ability to respond to the government’s arguments. Salt Lake County should abandon these proposed rules and work with all interested parties to come up with a fair process for taxpayers to respond in these situations.” 

The Utah Taxpayers Association also takes issue with another rule change that would limit the time an appraiser has to complete an appraisal for a tax appeal from 60 days to 30 days. This change will reduce the number of appeals that taxpayers can file by restricting the number of appraisals a particular appraiser will be able to complete. It will also potentially increase the cost to the taxpayer for the appraisal, as the shortened window may lead appraisers to charge premium rates for an appraisal to be completed in the 30-day period. 

“The role of government should be to serve the people. Not to place restrictions on taxpayers that will prevent them from achieving equity in property tax assessments,” said Hesterman. 

Salt Lake County is taking comment on the rule change through July 17. Taxpayers should contact the county and ask them to protect due process in the tax appeals process.