Frequently Asked Questions

The board's jurisdiction involves appeals of Assessor determinations, including:

  • Change in real and personal property values* [RCW 84.48.010]
  • Denials of senior citizen/disable persons exemptions [RCW 84.36.385]
  • Denials of senior citizen/disable persons exemptions [RCW 84.36.385]
  • Denials of home improvement exemptions [RCW 84.36.400]
  • Decisions regarding historic property [RCW 84.26.130]
  • Forest land classification determinations [RCW 84.33]
  • Current use determinations [RCW 84.34]
  • Destroyed property determinations [RCW 84.70.010]
  • Claims for either real or personal property tax exemptions [RCW 84.36.010]

* There is no provision in state law to directly appeal property taxes.

The only way to appeal an Assessor's valuation of your property is by filing a complete appeal petition with the Board of Equalization in a timely manner. Filing is free. The appeal petition form must be used. A letter or phone call is not acceptable as a substitute for the petition form. The form must have an original signature and be physically filed within the statutory filing times.

A property owner or taxpayer may appeal. Taxpayer means the person or entity whose name and address appears on the assessment rolls or their duly authorized agent. The appeal is filed with the Board of Equalization of the county in which the property is located.

Appeal petition forms are available from the Board of Equalization. Please contact the office at 564-397-2337, 1300 Franklin Street, Suite 650, Vancouver, WA 98660. Forms also can be downloaded here: Appeal Form

You must appeal between January 1 and July 1 of the current assessment year. If you receive a Notice of Value from the Assessor's Office, you have 60 days from the date on that notice.  Be sure to count calendar days and not just two months. We do accept postmarks. Mail the form to Board of Equalization, PO Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000. Petitioners may hand deliver the petition to the board and have it date stamped or you may submit by email to BOE@clark.wa.gov.

Please do not wait until the last day to file an appeal. If appealing other Assessor determinations such as denial of an application of current use or removal of a classification from property, citizens have 30 days from the date of the mailing of notification.

Contact the Assessor's Office to review valuation any time there is a question regarding property value. Property owners can often settle disagreements at this level without going to the appeal process. However, citizens still need to preserve their appeal rights by filing petitions on time with the Board of Equalization.

The Assessor will send a notice when the assessed value of property changes. The Assessor is required to value real property at least once every four years. After determining the value, the Assessor mails the taxpayer a Change of Value Notice. The notice will show the assessed value of land and improvements separately. The total assessed value should not exceed the market value of the property.

You can appeal your property assessment between January 1, 2018 and July 1, 2018 without receiving a Change of Value Notice.  Basically this would be a preemptive filing in anticipation of being over valued until you actually know the new assessed value.   Once you know the new assessed value you can leave your appeal filed, make changes on it, add to your file up to 7 business days prior to a hearing, or withdraw it if you are satisfied with the assessment.  If it is after July 1 of the assessment year and you have not received a Change of Value Notice you may review the "reasons for late filing" listed on this site.

In past years, more than 50 percent of the property values appealed to the board resulted in some type of reduction. Convincing evidence is the key.

A properly completed petition must include specific reasons why the property owner believes the Assessor's valuation is not correct. The amount of  tax, assessed value of other properties, percentage of assessment increase, personal hardship and other matters unrelated to the market value cannot, by law, be considered by the board.

Include the parcel number of the property being appealed, Assessor's determination of value, owner's estimate of value, comparable sales or other supporting evidence. Be sure to indicate if you intend to submit evidence prior to the hearing. You must provide additional information at least seven business days prior to the hearing.

Petition Evidence Tips

State law requires the Assessor to value all taxable property at 100 percent of its true and fair market value, according to the highest and best use of the property. Market value is the amount of money a willing, unobligated buyer agrees to pay a willing and unobligated seller. The Assessor values real property using one or more acceptable appraisal methods: the market or sales comparison method; the cost approach; an income capitalization approach for income-producing property; or any combination of the three approaches.

You will be notified of the date, time and location of your hearing at least three weeks prior to the hearing date.

You and the Assessor each will have an opportunity to give oral testimony and written evidence in support of your opinions of value. You may even cross-examine one another and rebut the evidence.

The hearing is an informal review designed to enable property owners to represent themselves without an attorney. Keep in mind that the Assessor is, by law, presumed to be correct. The burden of proof is on you to show the assessed value is not correct by presenting clear and convincing evidence to support your estimate of market value.

You will usually receive a written decision from the Board of Equalization within 30 days of the hearing. The board can either raise, lower or sustain the Assessor's value.

You may appeal the board's decision to the Washington State Board of Tax Appeals. Your appeal must be filed with the state within 30 calendar days of the mailing date of the County board's decision. You also may pay your taxes under protest and petition Superior Court for a refund by filing a lawsuit under RCW Chapter 84.68.

Washington State Board of Tax Appeals form

The board has only limited reasons to reconvene to consider assessments when an appeal was not filed by the deadline. One reason is if a new purchaser bought a property after July 1 and before December 31 of the assessment year (not tax year) and the sale price was less than 90 percent of the assessed value. Another would be if the taxing officials were fraudulent in performing their duties.

Pay your property taxes when due. After your hearing and the Board of Equalization's decision, the county Treasurer will notify you of any adjustment to your taxes.