This page has been created to answer general questions relating to the Alamance County Board of Equalization and Review. While the information below is deemed generally trustworthy, please be aware that there may be variations and exceptions depending on the specific details of each case. Please contact the Appraisal Section of the Tax Department if you need more specific information or advice concerning an appeal. You can reach us at: (336) 570-4116
“WHAT IS THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION AND REVIEW?”
The Alamance County Board of Equalization and Review (BOER) is appointed by the Alamance County Commissioners to hear cases relating to the assessment of property taxes.
“WHO SERVES ON THIS BOARD?”
The Board of Equalilzation and Review (BOER) is made up of persons living and/or working in Alamance County who are appointed by the County Commissioners. Each Commissioner appoints one representative to this Board. Board members have included business persons, educators, realtors, appraisers, contractors, farmers, forresters and others from a variety of backgrounds. There are a total of five individuals at any given time serving on the BOER.
“DOES THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION AND REVIEW WORK FOR THE COUNTY?”
The Board of Equalization and Reivew (BOER) represents the County Commissioners and, therefore, the Alamance County Government. They do not, however, represent the Tax Department. Their role is to review the work of the Tax Department to ensure that proper procedure is being followed and that citizens are being treated fairly.
“WHEN AND WHERE DOES THIS BOARD MEET?”
The Alamance County Board of Equalization and Review (BOER) holds its first meeting each year between the first Monday of April and the first Monday of May. Typically this meeting will fall within the first two weeks of April. It is generally held in the Commissioner’s Room at the Alamance County Office Building (124 West Elm Street, Graham, NC 27253). The initial meeting date, time and location will be advertised in the newspaper. After this first meeting, they will continue to meet until all appeals are resolved.
Additionally, the BOER may be called into special session for appeals arising after the adjournmet of their regular sessions. While such appeals are rare, there are a few circumstances (appeal of removal or deffered tax status, appeal of denial of exemption status, appeal of personal property within 30 days of notification, etc.) which can trigger a special session.
“HOW DO I FILE AN APPEAL TO THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION AND REVIEW?”
Generally speaking, appeals may be filled beginning in January each year until the BOER adjourns its regular session. In non-revaluation years, this adjournment may be as early as the first meeting, so the tax department recommends filing the appeal by the end of March. Exceptions that allow appeal to a special session of the BOER typically have different deadlines depending on the type of concern and date at whiich the concern arose.
Appeals may be made in writing using the BOER Appeal Form provided by the Tax Department each year. These forms may be obtained from the Tax Department website, by coming in to the tax office, or by requesting a form be sent via mail, e-mail or fax. These forms are made available each year from December until the BOER’s adjournmet of the regular session. Appeals to a special session are made by letter addressed to the Board of Equalization and Review.
“WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER MY APPEAL IS FILED?”
Appeals filed during the regular session of the Board of Equalzation and Review (BOER) are usually worked beginning in late February and continuing until all appeals are complete. If you are filing for a special session, work will probably begin shortly after your appeal is recieved. An appraiser from the Tax Department will be assigned to review your appeal and will contact you concerning your case. They are working in accordance with the BOER’s wishes that each property under appeal be reivewed by the appraisal staff prior to the hearing.
Appraisers will typically begin with a desk review. If the problem is not solved by the desk review they will proceed to a field review. This may or may not involve coming inside of your home (depending on the specifc concerns you have expressed). If you and the appraiser are able to come to an agreement as to your property’s value, there will be no need for you to appear at the hearing. The appraiser will appear on your behalf and request the property value be set to the agreed upon amount. After the hearing, notice will be mailed to you for your records that the value was corrected.
If you and the appraiser are unable to reach an agreement regarding the value of the property, the appraiser will schedule you to appear before the BOER. At your hearing you will be able to express your concerns about the value and the appraiser will express their views on the value. The BOER will hear both cases and will rule on the value of your property.
“WHAT CAN BE CONSIDERED IN AN APPEAL TO THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION AND REVIEW?”
Although there are a wide variety of concerns that property owners may have, only certain factors can be taken into account for tax purposes. The lists below are not exhaustive, but should help to clarify what can and what cannot be taken into consideration when reviewing your appeal.
The following should be taken into account when determining the assessed value for the property.
- Physical characteristics (squarefootage, quality, condition, etc.)
- Purchase price (if a market sale, adjusted for the market conditions of Jan 1, 2017)
- Cost of improvements (at typical market rates including contractor’s profit)
- Cost of needed repairs (a contractor’s estimate of repair costs should be provided)
- Private “fee” appraisal (adjusted for the market conditions of Jan 1, 2017)
- Expert witnesses who can testify as to the value of the property in the Jan 1, 2017 market.
- Sales of comparable properties (if a market sale, adjusted for the market of Jan 1, 2017)
- Values of comparable properties (difference of assessment between similar properties)
- Rental Income (if a market rate, adjusted for the market conditions of Jan 1, 2017)
- “No perc” letters, surveys, recorded easements, restrictions, flood maps, etc (if not adjusted for)
- Negative influences (heavy traffic, noisy businesses, neighboring “eyesores”, etc.)
- Conformity to the Schedule of Values (corrections will be needed if the SOV was not followed)
The following should not be taken into account when determining the assessed value for the property.
- The percentage or amount of increase from the previous year.
- The value of the property in the current year (unless adjusted for time to Jan 1, 2017).
- The economic ability of the owner to pay.
- Whether or not the taxpayer is a native resident of Alamance County.
- The actual rent of a property when that rent is not reflective of the market rent.
- The income stream of a business (market rent should be considered instead)
- Hearsay (undocumented supposed statements by either party)
While the Board of Equalization and Review cares about anything that causes concern to a citizen, it can only make decisions based upon evidence pertinent to the tax valuation of the appealed property.
“WHAT IS A MARKET SALE?”
For a sale to be considered a market sale, the buyer and seller must be “typically motivated.” This means that neither party is under undue stress or influence and can freely choose to buy/sell or not to buy/sell at the given price. Foreclosures and other distressed sales are not market sales. Sales of property to related persons are not considered to be market sales because the parties are unusualy well predisposed to each other.
Additionaly, a market sale is one in which both parties are well informed. If the selling/purchasing decision is made based on incorrect information, the sale may not reflect the true market value.
Furthermore, a market sale requires reasonable market exposure. Auctions are not market sales because there is not enough time on the market to gain full exposure. For-Sale-By-Owner transactions may not be market sales as there may not have been enough advertisement of the property without MLS access.
“WHY JANUARY 1, 2017?”
In order to treat everyone equally, all property must be valued as of the same date. All real property in the county was revalued as of Jan 1, 2017. Therefore, tax value should always be the value as if we were still in the Jan 1, 2017 market.
“WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT THE HEARING?”
Hearings are scheduled in 20 minute intervals. At your hearing, you will be asked to speak first. Please present a concise account of any pertinent facts relating to your case. Once you have finished speaking, the tax department will present their case. Once both sides have presented, the Board will deliberate and render a decision. This may be done immediately or may be tabled for later review.
The hearing will follow the basic outline below.
PHASE ONE: The Appellant (10 minutes)
- The appellant presents their case. This involves the use of personal testimony, documentary evidence, and the testimony of any other individuals, including expert witnesses.
- The tax department may ask questions. The tax department may ask questions of the appellant and any witnesses concerning the evidence presented.
- The Board may ask questions. The Board members may ask questions of the appellant and any witnesses concerning the evidence presented.
PHASE TWO: The Tax Department (5 minutes)
- The tax department presents their case. This involves the use of personal testimony, documentary evidence, and the testimony of any other individuals, including expert witnesses.
- The appellant may ask questions. The appellant may ask questions of the tax department and any witnesses concerning the evidence presented.
- The Board may ask questions. The Board members may ask questions of the tax department and any witnesses concerning the evidence presented.
PHASE THREE: The Board (5 minutes)
- The Board will deliberate and render a verdict. The Board may ask questions of either party and/or any witnesses. They may request further documentation from either party or further review from the tax department. They may decide immediately or table the decision and return to it later.
“IS THE BOARD’S DECISION FINAL?”
The Tax Department is required to abide by the decision of the Board of Equalization and Review. However, as a citizen, the appellant has the right to further appeal to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission in Raleigh (the PTC). The PTC’s decision may be appealed by either party to the NC Court of Appeals. Finally, either party may appeal the NC Court of Appeals decision to the North Carolina Supreme Court.
“HOW DO I APPEAL A DECISION BY THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION AND REVIEW?”
You will receive written notice of the Board’s decision. If you wish to appeal the Board’s decision, you must do so by submitting a form AV-14 or a signed letter of appeal to the NC Department of Revenue within 30 days of the date of your notice of decision letter. Detailed instructions will be provided with the notice letter.