SCC residents should have received their Notice of Value (Property Assessment) from the SCC Assessor. If not, contact their office at (520) 375-8030 to request a copy. Higher property assessment values means a higher tax bill, so it is important to review the Notice of Value and correct any errors or over-assessments.
Notices provide the current 2021 and proposed 2022 valuation and have a separate line for Land Full Cash Value (FCV), Improvements FCV, and Total FCV. There is also a line for Limited Value that caps the annual increase in the value of real property to 5% over the value of the property for the previous year.
Taxpayers have the right to petition for a review of the Assessor’s Valuation. A review by the County may be time well spent if (a) the assessed property value is higher than what the property would likely sell for, (b) when there is a significant increase that seems out of line with overall appreciation, and/or (c) similar properties in the market area are valued lower than yours. Arizona contracts with a vendor who runs a computer program to estimate the value of your property with no actual on-site visit that would capture changes to your property such as additions, damages, or destruction. Assessments should be based on the market value of your home and if your home had issues that would turn off buyers, now is the time to own up to them.
Start by reviewing the parcel record for errors by visiting http://parcelsearch.co.santa-cruz.az.us/RWDataMartPropertyInquiry/Inquiry.aspx. Enter the parcel ID number (without any dashes) in the top block and click on ‘find property ‘which provides an overview of the land and improvements. Click on Detailed Building Information for all structures listed and review these documents in detail. For example, if you had a built-in pool and you filled it in, be sure this is correctly reflected on your parcel information. Check all the data to include number of bedrooms, square footage, etc. If you find discrepancies, contact the Assessor’s office.
The next step is looking at comparable homes in your market area that are similar in size, age and condition and comparing them to your home. The County’s GIS Parcel Search map will come in handy. It can be found at https://sccaz-gis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=6747735f7c9d46d0abfedaf8f0e79e35. Locate the address of homes in your market area that you believe are similar and input the address into the GIS Parcel Search map. This will take you to a map which identifies the specific parcel number(s). Copy the parcel number (omit the dashes) and enter it into the parcel search website to obtain the detailed information for comparison to your property. Again, focus on similar size, age, and condition. You can also calculate the cost per square foot of your home and those you choose to compare to yours. You will want to provide several comps to support your argument.
If you are short on time, you could hire a professional appraiser to provide the strongest evidence of your property’s worth. Lastly, you could check with a Realtor in your area and see if they are willing to help you pull five or more comparable and recent sales to help evaluate what your property is worth. Some agents may charge for this service and some not, but a Realtor can provide helpful insight into deciding if an appeal is worth the effort.
If you decide to move ahead, you will need to file a Petition for Review of Valuation with the Assessor’s office no later than April 29, 2021. The form can be found on the County’s website. You will need to select your method(s) of valuation your appeal is based on, (1) Market Sales Approach – the full cash value of comparable properties in the same area; (2) The Cost Approach – all costs (materials, labor, architectural fees, construction finance costs builder profit) to build or rebuild the home plus land value; (3) The Income Approach – (for income producing property) which estimates the value based on income capitalization; or Other. You will also need to check a box if you would like to meet with the assessor.
The Assessor must rule on all appeals no later than August 15. If your request is denied, you may file an appeal with the County Board of Equalization.
A successful appeal does not mean the County cannot increase the assessed value of your home the following year. While it often pays to file for a review, be aware that it is a process you may need to deal with more than once.