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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : letters September 29, 2016

7/28/2012 1:05:00 PM
Letter: Prop. 117 - Why don’t property tax consultants like it?


A letter to the editor by Jeff Nolan was recently published describing his opposition to Prop 117. It’s interesting that Mr. Nolan did not disclose in his letter that he is a property tax consultant in the Phoenix area.

The property tax consulting industry, which was jump-started in the early 1980’s shortly after our current property tax system was implemented, has benefited significantly from the instability in our system. I think it’s ironic that an industry that appeals the property values to assessors and local boards of equalization on behalf of its clients would go to such great lengths to oppose a measure that would ultimately protect their clients/taxpayers.

I am the vice president of the Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA), the only statewide taxpayer association representing a cross-section of individuals and businesses, and the organization responsible for getting Prop. 117 on the November ballot. I previously worked in the assessment industry for nearly 12 years, 10 of which were in the assessor’s office (including a brief stint at the Yavapai County Assessor’s office) and two years in the property division at the Arizona Department of Revenue. In all of my years of experience in this industry, I witnessed first-hand the unnecessary costs imposed on taxpayers by the system.

Prop. 117 will provide stability and simplicity for taxpayers and that’s what some property tax consultants don’t like.

Jennifer Stielow

Arizona Tax Research Association


Related Stories:
• Letter: Prop. 117 brings inequity

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012
Article comment by: Taxpayer Appeal Rights Distressed Properties that Sold

Tax Rip Off - You got the total runaround by that assessor representative.

Depending on when you purchased your property and if you formally filed an appeal with the assessor, you may still have formal appeal rights as the new owner of the property for the 2013 tax year.

If you had an appraisal done or if you have other comparable sales around January 1st that are in line with your purchase price, you may still have some options.

Your property should never be valued at more than market value. Should similar properties in the area be valued less than market value or at some arbitrary percentage of market value then equity should be considered.

You can file an appeal yourself or hire a tax attorney or tax consultant.

I just love how the assessor wants to pretend that REO Forclosure Sales should not be considered. Sometimes you are forced to take these cases to the appeal boards or to tax court, if warranted.

Perhaps a complex tax system isn't the only reason that taxpayers need professionals to assist them with these matters.

If you got a bargain and the purchase was way below market, then you have an uphill battle to find additional support for your position that your valuation is too high.

Sometimes it takes you to be the first to demonstrate that values are too high for your area and then the neighbors properties maybe should be adjusted also.

Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012
Article comment by: tax ripoff

Propety tax. I got a bank owned gov. house. I got it for a fare price.
The Propety tax was much higher. I was told for 2013 are hands are tied, to bad for you. but for 2014 I could fight that one.
The people keep to a person using this stupid word equitable. It would not be equitable for us to lower your home value when the people on either side of you are about the same.
I was told we just can not take a house in the middle of a block an make it's tax less.
Have you ever heard a bigger bunch of bull.

Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012
Article comment by: Jeff Nolan

Prop 117-Property Tax Valuation Caps.

Did you hear that Independent Studies are referenced that raise questions and opposition? Too bad nobody read or seriously considered them.

There is no answer for the "Shadow Inventory" of Grossly Underassessed Properties that already are on the tax rolls and will be locked in at a 5% increase and what... take 10, 20, 40, 60 years to be brought up to levels that are currently being assessed for the majority of taxpayers. Assessors do their best, but they all should openly admit that this is a problem since there is NO MECHANISM TO FIX IT with Prop 117 in it's current form.

If all properties in all areas of the state appreciate or depreciate at the same rate, and all properties are presumed to be assessed and valued at market value when they lock in then there may have some validity. However, we know that is not the case with either point.

Simplify by Prop 117 standards, does not equal a fair and equitable distribution of the property tax burden over the long term.

Current limitations allow up to a 10% increase on the Limited Value unless the property is substantially under-valued and then once you are identified and revalued your Limited Value will be brought up over a 3 to 5 year period to be comparable with the majority of taxpayers in your area.

The majority of active cases I specialize in involve property tax issues involving economically depressed areas, areas that have declined in value, commercial properties that have experienced declining rents, increased vacancy and severely distressed properties. These are the properties that assessors and taxpayers should be discussing, especially during this most recent economic downturn. I believe these taxpayers do not feel it is a waste of their dollars to meet with their assessor to discuss concerns or issues they have with the valuation of their property.

Let's give some credit to the assessors that have done a very good job in tracking the market downturn with reduced values in almost every county in the state for several years now, so almost everyone has seen decreases in assessed values. It is an ongoing process to find those undervalued properties on the tax rolls and bring them up to levels that are fair and equitable with the majority of taxpayers.

Problem still remains: Taxing jurisdictions will get their budget dollars, oversight on the budget setting process is needed and put the tax rate setting authority with an independent body such as the county treasurer and guess what, if and when values go up then these politicians that said in the past that they held the line and did not increase the tax rates while there was a broad based increase in the tax valuations will get exposed and the blame, while the assessors have done their job, they usually get the heat from the taxpayer under these circumstances.

The majority of taxpayers I deal with want to pay their fair share, they understand when they have a favorable tax position and they know what actions to take if they feel their values are too high.

Every taxpayer needs to look at one thing before casting their vote on Prop 117 - The 2013 Full Cash Value (Market Value), If your assessor has done their job and fairly distributed the property tax burden with a valuation at or below current market value as of January 1st of this year, then guess what... this in not a valuation issue.

Like most policial issues, attack those that question or oppose an issue.

If anything, this is an informed objection to prop 117 in it's current form.

By the way, I did not hear a disclosure from the sponsor of Prop 117 that they are a registered lobbyist. Just saying...

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