By Jeff Nolan
Arizona State House Bill 2253 (“H.B. 2253”), titled Property Tax Assessments; One-year Cycle, may have significant ramifications for Arizona property owners. This bill passed the House and is now rapidly moving through the Senate for consideration.
H.B. 2253 modifies various property tax deadlines to establish a one-year tax cycle. Currently, real property is on a two-year cycle. Year one, referred to as the valuation year, is when a valuation is made on a property. Immediately following year two, the tax year, the valuation from the previous year, is acknowledged. This two-year cycle gave taxpayers and counties adequate time to address a property tax appeal.
H.B. 2253, sponsored by Representative Darin Mitchell, is driven by Arizona County Assessors asserting that moving the valuation, appeals, and tax rate setting process and issuing tax bills into a single calendar year will simplify the Arizona property tax system.
Ryan, Arizona Tax Research Association, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Association of Property Tax Consultants, and other interested parties have voiced major concerns with this bill. Click here for a copy of H.B. 2253 and here for the Arizona Tax Research Association’s memo of opposition to H.B. 2253.
Arizona taxpayers are put in an extremely difficult position, should they ever need to appeal a property tax assessment in Arizona with this bill. Appeal is the area most impacted, with bill language input only from the assessors’ point of view and no input from Arizona taxpayers. Assessors are already in an extremely aggressive, adversarial position when addressing tax appeals and the only ones in favor of reducing the existing timeline for taxpayers to review their assessment. There is insufficient time with the existing timeline for the taxpayer to engage attorneys, appraisers, tax agents, or other professionals to assist the taxpayer to gather information, research, and recommend a course of action regarding a potential property tax appeal.
The compressed timeline for the appeal review with a substantive information provision in the existing statute is a major issue. Our recommendation is that a change of this magnitude to the existing Arizona property tax system should have gone to a formal study committee comprised of all stakeholders and should also comply with the Arizona Open Meetings Law so that the public is protected from assessors meeting privately to reduce the timeline to appeal property tax valuations.
Taxpayers concerned about H.B. 2253 can contact members of the Arizona Senate directly. Click here for a link to the Arizona Senate members.
H.B. 2253 First Senate Reading was on March 4, 2015, and the Second Senate Reading was on March 5, 2015. The bill will be scheduled soon for consideration by the Senate Finance Committee.
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