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The following is a list of simple definition-like statements related to the common use of terms in Idaho tax appeal cases. The glossary and definitions are not intended to be complete or exhaustive. There is emphasis on assessment terms related to market value cases, the most common case type found on the Board’s docket. Other property tax assessment definitions are found in Idaho Code Section 63-201. The following definitions are not presented as legal advice nor as legal standards, but are presented merely as background information. It is a party’s obligation to be informed and prepared for the appeal hearing or any other Board proceeding. If you have a question about tax appeal terms or processes, you may call the office for assistance at 208-334-3354, or you may contact your attorney.  The following abbreviations are used in this glossary: BOE refers to County Board of Equalization, BTA refers to the Idaho State Board of Tax Appeals and STC refers to the Idaho State Tax Commission.


Abstraction method. A land valuation method used in the absence of sufficient comparable vacant land sales, whereby improvement values are subtracted from the sale prices of improved parcels to obtain residual land value estimates. Also called land residual technique.

Acre. A measurement of land being 43,560 square feet.

Acreage. Typically refers to unsubdivided land which is customarily measured in acres rather than square feet or front feet.

Ad valorem. A Latin term meaning according to value. Used to describe a property tax assessment based on the value of the property being taxed.

Affidavit. A written sworn statement of fact.

Affirm. A decision of the BTA which upholds the decision of the BOE or STC. See Idaho Code Section 63-511.

Allocation. The process of assigning the market value estimate for a subject property between its different components, such as the land and improvements or between different parcel numbers if a multi-parcel subject.

APA. Abbreviation for the Idaho Administrative Procedures Act.

Appeal to District Court. A final decision of the BTA may be taken to the District Court for review. See Idaho Code Sections 63-3811, 63-3812, 67-5273, 67-5275 and especially Court Rule 84.

Appellant. A party filing an appeal. In most ad valorem cases this is the property owner or taxpayer. In some instances it may be the county assessor. In appeals from STC decisions, the appellant is usually the taxpayer.

Appraisal. The process of developing an informed opinion of market value for the subject property as of a specific point in time.

Appraisal adjustments. The process an appraiser uses to adjust for differences between a comparable sale or listing and the subject property. An adjustment reflects whether and how much a property is inferior or superior to the subject. Adjustments are applied to the selling or listing price of the comparable, resulting in a price indication for the subject.

Appraisal approaches. The three commonly recognized methods for estimating the market value of property are the sales comparison approach, the income approach and the cost approach.

Appraisal date. The specific date on which a property’s value is estimated. See Idaho Code Section 63-205.

Arm’s-length sale. References a sale transaction type where the buyer and seller acted willingly and under no undue pressure, with knowledge of present market conditions and the future potential for the property purchased, and where the property was offered on the open market for a reasonable length of time, and where there was no collusion or other unusual circumstances associated with the sale. The term “arm’s length” may also refer merely to a buyer and seller acting purely in independent self-interests or can be used to refer to what is deemed a good or valid sale.

Assessed value. Commonly refers to the appraised value or taxable value of property as determined by the assessor or BOE, context is often necessary to determine which.

Assessment date. The status date and date of appraisal for ad valorem assessment purposes. Appraised value reflects the status of the subject property and its marketplace as of this date. Idaho Code Section 63-205.

Assessor. The Official whose legal responsibility it is to discover, list and value all property within a jurisdiction like a county.

BOCC. Short for Board of County Commissioners. The BTA does not hear appeals from decisions of the BOCC. If you have a question about whether a decision is appealable to the BTA, please visit or call the BTA office for further information, or contact your attorney.

Board. Short for Idaho State Board of Tax Appeals. The Board is also commonly referred to as the BTA. The BTA is Idaho’s fully independent and neutral tax appeals tribunal.

Brief. A written statement prepared by a party to explain their position. See Board Rule 74.

Bundle of rights. For property tax purposes, property is commonly appraised and assessed in fee simple absolute. See IDAPA

Burden of proof. A party’s duty to prove a disputed assertion or charge.

CAMA. An abbreviation for computer-assisted mass appraisal.

Category. A classification and description system established by the State Tax Commission for the purposes of assessment, equalization and taxation. See IDAPA 35.01.03

Comp. Short for a comparable sale, listing or rental.

Cite. Short for citation or to make reference to a legal authority, or a decision in another case.

Closing statement. The final argument by a party after all evidence has been produced for both sides. The presiding officer will dictate the order and number of closing statements. Commonly the appellant makes the first closing argument, followed by the respondent, then the appellant can respond to the final statement by respondent. See Board Rules 106 and 107.

CMA. An abbreviation for comparative market analysis.

Comparable sale. An appraisal term used to describe a recent sale of property similar in important respects to the property being valued. See Board Rule 10. Comparable in the broad sense means capable of comparison. In the appraisal of a particular property, the universe of comparable sales is typically screened down to a set of timely sales judged most similar to the subject in important respects, such as physical, functional and locational attributes, i.e. the comparable sales.

Comparative market analysis. Realtor’s process used to determine the market value of property, or the price at which to list property for sale, generally based on an analysis of recent sales or listings of comparable or competing properties.

Concessions. Benefits granted by a seller/lessor to induce a sale.

Conditions of sale. The circumstances surrounding a sale including the motivations of the buyer and seller and the parties’ relation to one another.

Consolidation. The uniting of multiple appeals into a single action or case. See Board Rule 55.

Continuance. The formal postponement of a Board hearing until a subsequent date. Continuances are disfavored by the Board and granted only under limited circumstances. See Board Rule 111.

Cost approach. A method of appraising property usually based on the depreciated replacement cost new of improvements, plus the value of the site.

Cross-examination. The opportunity for a qualified representative or party to ask questions at hearing of a witness who testified for the opposing party.

Days on market. The active marketing or exposure time for a property offered for sale. Can also denote the number of days a listing was active before it was taken off the market.

Decision-maker. The ultimate judge and fact finder, or sometimes refers to the presiding officer at hearing. The Board must secure signatures of at least two concurring members to issue a final decision. See Idaho Code Section 63-3809.

De novo. “Anew”. In other words when the case starts fresh. Before the Board, parties should present their case anew and may present the same or new evidence. See Board Rule 10.

Discovery. Usually refers to the compulsory disclosure of documents or information to the opposing party prior to hearing. Limited discovery is available when properly requested through the Board. See Board Rule 75.

Distressed sale. A sale made to meet the immediate, pressing needs of the seller.

DOM. An abbreviation for days on market.

Effective date of appraisal. For Idaho assessment purposes, this is normally January 1st of the current tax year. For instance, for the 2016 tax year the appraisal and assessment date is January 1, 2016. The purpose of many ad valorem hearings is to determine the market value of the subject property as of the effective date of appraisal. See Idaho Code Section 63-205.

En Banc. The full Board, e.g. all three BTA members sitting for a hearing.

Exhibit. A document, or an object like a photograph, offered as evidence at hearing or by attachment to a pleading. Exhibit types include maps, spreadsheets, narratives, reports, applications, letters, and tax returns among other things. See Board Rule 118.

Ex parte communication. A communication with the Board or hearing officer on behalf of one party where the opposing party is not present or included. Certain ex parte communications are prohibited by Board Rule 37 and Idaho Code Section 67-5253. A party may commonly ask procedural questions of Board staff without running into a non permitted ex parte communication.

Expert Witness. A person who is a specialist through training, experience, and/or special knowledge, in a subject and who may present an opinion on that subject.

Failure to appear. The term used to describe a party’s non-appearance at a duly noticed hearing, either in person or through a qualified representative. See Board Rules 101 and 30. A failure to appear may result in a dismissal or a default judgment.

Fee appraisal. The appraisal of a single property for a fee.

Fee simple. The absolute or complete ownership (estate) in property, the full bundle of individual rights. See IDAPA

Filing date. The date a party files an appeal or pleading with the Board. in the normal course, when filed by mail, the filing date is the postmark cancellation mark, not the date the filing was received. See Board Rules 60, 61, 65 and 66. See also Idaho Code Section 63-217.

Fixed value law. Under certain circumstances, decisions of the Board changing a market value may be fixed (cannot be changed) in the current tax year and for the subsequent tax year. See Idaho Code Section 63-3813.

Highest and best use. A concept in market value appraisal requiring property be appraised as if it were put to its most profitable use, given probable legal, physical, and financial constraints.

Homesite.  A land area prepared or ready for a residential use.  A homesite assessment includes the market value of the raw land together with the value of any site improvements present on the land.

Idaho Administrative Procedures Act. Appeals before the BTA must conform with Idaho’s Administrative Procedures Act, except where the act is inconsistent with the Board’s statutory framework. See Idaho Code Section 63-3814 and Title 67, Chapter 52, Idaho Code.

IAAO. Abbreviation for the International Association of Assessing Officers.

IAAP. Abbreviation for the Idaho Association of Assessment Personnel.

Income approach. A method for estimating the value of income producing property, which in direct capitalization converts an amount or level of income into value by application of a capitalization rate.

Independent body. The Idaho Board of Tax Appeals exists to be a fully neutral and unbiased decision-maker, not subject to the supervision or control of local or state taxing authorities. See Idaho Code Sections 63-3801 and 63-3802.

Interrogatory. A written question from one party to another, formally put forward through Board-ordered discovery, which must be answered. Supplementation of an earlier answer may also be required. See Board Rule 75.

Issue on appeal. The specific question(s) the Board must decide.

Jurisdiction. The Board’s (or presiding officer’s) legal authority to take some action. See Idaho Code Sections 63-511, 63-304963-3811 and 63-3813.

MLS. An abbreviation for multiple listing service.

Market value. Idaho Code Section 63-201 defines market value as “the amount of United States dollars or equivalent for which, in all probability, a property would exchange hands between a willing seller, under no compulsion to sell, and an informed, capable buyer, with a reasonable time allowed to consummate the sale, substantiated by a reasonable down or full cash payment.” See also Idaho Code Sections 63-203 and 63-205.

Modify. A decision of the BTA which either raises, lowers, or otherwise adjusts a decision of the BOE or STC. See Board Rule 135 and Idaho Code Section 63-511.

Moot. A case or question only involving an abstract, or no longer relevant, question. A moot question is often an answered or settled question.

Motion. A written or oral request to the Board or hearing officer to issue a ruling or order. See Board Rule 72.

Multiple listing service. A commercial service which provides information about property for sale including asking price, sale price, days on market, and other information. Obtaining or purchasing information from an MLS may be possible through a local MLS, realtor or fee appraiser.

Natural person. A human being. See Board Rule 30.

Neighborhood. The geographic area of a property which has an effect on its value. Typically such a neighborhood shares important locational characteristics.

No show. Also known as a failure to appear. Occurs when a party fails to appear at the assigned place and time for hearing. Failure to appear at a duly-noticed hearing may result in dismissal or default judgment of the appeal.

Notice of appearance. The formal statement of an Idaho attorney or other qualified representative that they are appearing (representing a party) in an appeal before the Board. Such notice may be given at hearing or by filing a written document. See Board Rules 30, 31, 32, 45 and 61.

Objection. A formal statement of opposition to something in a judicial-like proceeding which is believed to be unfair or improper. See Board Rules 117 and 118.

Outlier. Observations that have unusual values. An outlier differs markedly from the other data points in the set.

Parcel. In assessment and county records, a contiguous area of land with independent ownership and a unique identification number.

Party. A person, be it an individual or entity, or governmental subdivision or agency, appearing before the Board. See Board Rule 10 and Idaho Code Sections 63-511, 63-3049 and 63-3811.

Perfected. Having completed all the legal requirements to achieve a result. Most often used in connection with an appeal which has been filed in compliance with all the filing requirements.

Pleading. Commonly refers to any written document filed with the Board laying out facts and law of a party’s case, position, or request, e.g. a procedural motion. See Board Rules 62 and 63.

Preponderance of evidence. Generally the greater weight of the evidence. The more convincing evidence likely to be accurate. See Idaho Code Section 63-511.

Presiding officer. The person assigned to preside over the hearing. The Judge before the Board, also known as the hearing officer. See Board Rule 106.

Pro se. Latin for “for oneself.” One who represents oneself in a legal proceeding without the assistance of a licensed attorney. A self-represented litigant.

ProVal. One of the early computer-assisted appraisal systems used by assessors and appraisers to determine property values.

Quick sale. A term used to describe a sale with a brief marketing period, or to describe a marketing period briefer than is typical for like properties.

Real estate owned. Property acquired by a lender to satisfy a borrower’s debt, usually through foreclosure.

Rebuttal. Evidence or argument offered to counter or disprove another party’s evidence or argument. See Board Rule 107.

Reconciliation of values. The resolving of different value indications into a single final opinion of value. Resolving different value indications into a single opinion of value may occur within an appraisal approach, or between the results of different approaches to value.

Reconsideration. The request for the Board to review again a previously-made decision toward making a possible change in the original decision. See Board Rule 145.

Record. The body of evidence and argument the Board relies on in decision-making. See Board Rules 106, 140, 151 and Idaho Code Section 67-5249.

Recusal. The removal of oneself as judge in a particular matter due to an actual conflict of interest or the possible appearance of a conflict of interest. See Idaho Code Sections 63-3802 and 67-5252.

Rehearing. To conduct a hearing again, usually on the motion of a party but also possible by the Board’s own motion, due to a significant problem with the first hearing or the sufficiency of the decision. A party must file a request for rehearing within ten (10) days of the mailing of the Board’s decision. See Board Rule 145 and Idaho Code Section 63-3810. Rehearing seldom occurs.

Relief claim. A demand by an appellant for money, such as a refund claim, or for the enforcement of a right provided by law, such as a correct market valuation of taxable property.

REO. Abbreviation for real estate owned.

Repo. Slang for repossession. The seizure by a lender of property that is collateral for a debt when loan payments are not made.

Representative. The qualified person appearing before the Board on behalf of a party to the appeal. A natural person may represent oneself, which is commonly referred to as appearing “pro se”. A power of attorney cannot qualify a third-party to represent another before the Board. A representative must be qualified and authorized pursuant to Board Rule 30.

Residual. In appraisal the value remaining after all deductions are made; e.g. a residual land value where the values of all improvements are deducted from the total value to provide an indication of underlying land value.

Respondent. A party answering or otherwise responding to an appeal. See Board Rule 10.

Retrospective appraisal. An opinion of value as of a specific date in the past. A measurement of the current marketplace as of a specified appraisal date some time in the past. On appeal, the property value question is a retrospective one.

Reverse. A decision of the Board overturning a decision of the BOE or STC. Also can denote the appellant prevailed in the case. See Idaho Code Section 63-511.

Sales comparison approach. An appraisal approach to value that compares recently-sold (recent to the effective date of appraisal), proximate, and similar property to the subject property. Price adjustments are made for differences between the sold property and the subject property. Because of how the sales comparison approach uses market data it is sometimes called the market, market data, or market comparison approach, or alternately the direct sales comparison approach.

Sales comparison grid. Commonly used in the sales comparison approach, a summary chart showing the adjustments to comparable sales for differences between the subject and the comparison properties, and possibly adjustments for time of sale or atypical financing.

Sales ratio. The ratio between the assessed or appraised value of a property and the same property’s sale price.

Service. The action of providing another with a copy of a document. Typically a document that has been filed with, or issued by, the Board. See Board Rule 61.

Settlement. What the parties do when they resolve between themselves the disputed question without need for a hearing. A settlement can occur any time between the time an appeal is filed and when the Board issues a final decision, even at or after the hearing. See Board Rule 105. See also the Board’s website settlement form for use in market value cases.

Short sale. Usually a pre-foreclosure sale where the sale price falls short of the balance owed on the property’s loan. Special circumstances are associated with these sales in order to avoid a formal foreclosure process.

Site improvements.  Also known as on-site improvements.  On-site improvements enable a parcel to support a specific purpose.  Among other things, they can include clearing, grading, fill, access driveways, and utility related improvements like water, power and septic systems.  Other common on-site improvements include landscaping, fencing, and drainage and irrigation systems.

Square footage. Typically the total finished area, above grade, measured along the building’s outside perimeter.

Stipulation. An agreement between the parties. If in written form, it must be signed by the parties or parties’ representatives and filed with the Board. See Board Rules 110, 70 and 90.

Subject property. In appraisal, commonly the property being appraised. See Board Rule 10.

Subpoena. An order from the Board, following proper motion, for a witness to appear at a particular time and place to testify and/or produce documents or things in control of the witness. See Board Rule 155 and Idaho Code Section 63-3808.

Taxable value. Generally the appraised value of property less any applicable exemption.

Taxing authority. The unit of government levying and collecting a particular tax, such as a county or the STC.

Telephonic hearing. A hearing conducted by telephone, as opposed to an in-person hearing where all participants are in a room together. See Board Rule 100.

Third-party representative. A person who is not a party to the case, but has an involvement by virtue of being an agent or attorney for a client or party. See Board Rule 30. Third-party representation before the Board may be considered the practice of law and is restricted accordingly.

Time adjustment. The adjustment of an older sale price to reflect changes in the market for that property between its date of sale and the effective date of the appraisal.

Topography. Surface features of land, referring to such elements as elevation, ridges, slope, and contour.

Unit of comparison. Appraisers often compare a subject property with comparable sale properties using an appropriate unit. Examples include the average price per square foot of gross living area, the total sale price of one property to another, the average price per effective front foot, the price average per acre, or the average price per golf course hole.

USPAP. Short for Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

Vacate. To cancel something. For example, the Board may vacate a prior notice or order.

Valid sale. Used to describe a sales transaction that comports with all the elements of defined market value. Also can describe a sale that is timely in comparison to the appraisal date, i.e. a comparable sale recent to the effective date of appraisal.

Value factors. Property characteristics that increase or decrease value, such as location, size, quality, and condition.

Withdrawal. To withdraw or cancel the appeal before the Board. An appellant may typically withdraw an appeal by filing notice thereof in written form. The Board’s website includes a withdrawal form with instructions.

Witness. One who is called to offer testimony under oath.
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