Beaufort County property owners including Hilton Head, Bluffton and Daufuskie will be receiving their new millage rates, their reassessed property values and their respective tax bills in the upcoming months.  The above Citizens Guide to the Beaufort County Reassessment Program 2013 answers many questions about the upcoming reassessment.  Listed below are few questions about the appeal process answered by a local appraiser. 

What if we want to appeal our new property valuation? 

“With respect to appeals of the new property valuation assessment, my advice to potential clients is not to take any action until they receive an assessment notice.  I have been discouraging potential clients from engaging my services to prepare an appeal appraisal at this time.  After receiving their new valuation and the value is reasonable, then no action should be taken since taxpayers have no appeal provision to challenge the millage rate which is the same for all taxpayers.  Most likely the millage rate will be determined in late September or early October of 2013.

What if the reassessed value is too High for my Hilton Head Property?

Should a taxpayer believe the new value is too high, they should immediately engage an Appraiser to prepare a formal appraisal to file with their appeal.  All taxpayers need to consider that the County Assessor’s office is staffed with licensed Appraisers so naturally they view the appeal through their trained eyes.

What is the timing for an appeal for my Beaufort County Property?

Taxpayers have ninety days from the date of the notice to file an appeal so don’t wait because we believe the Assessor will be inundated with appeals.  By law, no Appraiser can advise a taxpayer if their value is within range without analyzing market data and creating a research file.  On several occasions, and for a minimal prepaid fee, I have given clients some sense of the range of values where possible.  Should my client choose to proceed with a formal appraisal, the prepaid fee is applied to the cost of a final report.

What are the chances that the appeal will be successful?

No Appraiser can assure a taxpayer that an appeal will be successful. By law no Appraiser can prepare an appeal that is contingent on an outcome. There are a few companies who are contacting taxpayers and for a small fee they will file an appeal.  It is my understanding that these same companies share in the future savings if the appeal is successful.  Essentially, “you get what you pay for” maybe true here.

What will my tax be bill be if I purchased in the last year?

For those who purchased in 2012, the outcome is unknown until they receive the notice of the new value established by the Assessor’s office.  The Assessor’s office estimates what they believe is an appropriate value at the time of purchase based on their view of the property’s market value and not necessarily the purchase price.  Again, if a purchaser feels the value is reasonable, then they should do nothing.

Finally, don’t wait and file early.

Make sure the Appraiser you hire has local market knowledge and has prepared successful appeals.  Many of my peers have 25 or more years of experience in this market as I.  Just as you selected your real estate agent, your decision was based on their experience and market knowledge, not price, so consider those issues as you select an Appraiser to help in the appeal process since the outcome of your appeal will influence your tax bill for the next five years.  If you have further questions contact your local appraiser or Bruce  Goff, CR29, SC Real Estate Appraiser via email or by phone at 843.683.4444.