DISCLAIMER: The following questions and answers are provided for general information only and may not be completely accurate in every circumstance. Further, the information in this section is not to be construed as legal advice, and is not intended to be legally binding on the BTA.
Q: What does the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) do?
A: The BTA provides taxpayers with an opportunity to appeal decisions of county boards of equalization and most decisions of the Idaho State Tax Commission to an independent and neutral decision-making body. Taxpayers may present evidence and argument at a hearing before the BTA.
Q: When and how can I file an appeal with the BTA?
A: An appeal can be filed after a decision is issued by the County Board of Equalization regarding a property assessment or exemption claim. Certain requirements must be satisfied and limited time periods apply. More information regarding filing requirements can be found in SECTION 2 of this booklet. Appeal forms are available at the county clerk/auditor’s office, at the BTA’s website (bta.idaho.gov), or by request to the BTA’s Boise office.
Q: What happens after I file my appeal?
A: The BTA will send an acknowledgment letter to notify all parties the appeal has been received. The acknowledgment letter will include the docket number assigned to the appeal and may request further information. At a later time, the parties will be notified by mail of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
Q: What kind of information should I present at the hearing?
A: Generally, each party will be allowed to present information they feel is relevant to the appeal. This could include photographs, maps, appraisals, copies of relevant communications, or other documents which might be helpful or informative. Parties should provide as much information as possible regarding any comparable sales discussed or presented at hearing, such as sale price, date of sale, and property characteristics. Personal testimony and that of witnesses may also be offered as evidence. See SECTION 4 of this booklet for more information regarding exhibits for hearing.
Q: What happens at the hearing?
A: The hearing is the parties’ opportunity to present their respective cases. Each party will have a full opportunity to be heard and will be allowed to ask questions of the opposing party. The goal of the hearing is to create the record, or body of evidence, the BTA will rely on in making its decision. The presiding officer is responsible for controlling all aspects of the hearing to ensure the parties receive a fair hearing. The hearing is digitally recorded to provide an accurate audio record.
Q: May I pursue a settlement after my appeal has been filed?
A: Yes, a settlement can be pursued any time prior to the BTA issuing a final decision and order. To become effective, a settlement agreement must be submitted to, and approved by, the BTA. A settlement agreement must be signed by both parties, or their qualified representatives, and needs to include the relevant terms of the agreement. A settlement form is available at the BTA’s website, or the parties may draft their own.
Q: Do I need to re-submit exhibits or information I provided during my hearing before the County Board of Equalization?
A: Yes, any information the parties would like the BTA to consider should be provided at the BTA hearing, regardless if the same information was a part of a prior proceeding before the County Board of Equalization. Hearings before the BTA are de novo, which in simple terms means everything starts “fresh”. Likewise, any information included in the materials submitted when filing the appeal should be re-introduced at the BTA hearing.
Q: How long will it take to receive my decision?
A: The time it takes to receive a decision from the BTA can vary from a few weeks to a couple months. In most instances, the BTA is required by law to issue property tax assessment decisions by May 1st.
Q: Can I get information from the opposing party before the hearing?
A: Yes. The formal process is called discovery. There are specific time limits and other standards for filing a discovery request, which can be found in the BTA’s administrative rules. Formal discovery must be requested in writing and granted by the BTA. Informal communication between the parties is permitted at any time, however, the opposing party is not always required to participate or provide information during this informal process.
Q: Who will be at the hearing? Is it public?
A: Each party is present, as is the presiding officer from the BTA. Typically, there are 3 to 5 total people at the hearing. Almost all hearings are open to the public.
Q: Where will the hearing be held?
A: Appeals from the County Board of Equalization are normally heard in the county from which the assessment was issued, often at the courthouse. Hearings for Ada County appeals are normally held at the BTA’s office in Boise.
Q: If I receive a reduction in value from the County Board of Equalization, and appeal to the BTA for a further reduction, do I risk losing the reduction already received?
A: Yes, the BTA is not bound by the decision of the County Board of Equalization. The BTA has jurisdiction over the entire assessment, even if only one part is being challenged. Depending on the facts of the particular case, the BTA may raise, lower, or leave unchanged the values previously assigned to the land or improvements.
Q: Can the county assessor appeal a decision of the County Board of Equalization?
A: Yes, pursuant to Idaho Code §63-511, the county assessor is permitted to appeal a decision of the County Board of Equalization. The same filing requirements apply, including appeal deadlines, contents of the notice of appeal, and filing the appeal with the county clerk/auditor.
Q: Where can I get more information to assist with my appeal?
A: Depending on the type of appeal, there are multiple sources for obtaining helpful information. Information regarding comparable sales might be obtainable from local realtors, brokers, appraisers, or other real estate professionals. Sources of information concerning tax issues might include the Idaho State Tax Commission, an attorney, and the tax statutes provided in Title 63 of the Idaho Code. Parties may also contact the BTA.
Q: Can I appeal my BTA decision?
A: Yes, a final decision of the BTA may be appealed to district court. Certain filing requirements and time limits apply, as provided in Idaho Code §63-3812 and the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 84).