Agency backed up on appeals over properties
: Do you know how the real property tax appeal process works? Earlier in the year, I paid the $25 fee to appeal my tax assessment, but have yet to receive any notice that it was turned down or still being reviewed. Can you help?
Answer: You're asked to be patient.
This year, the city Real Property Assessment Division received about 7,000 appeals, said division chief Gary Kurokawa. That compares with 5,500 in 2005 and 6,000 in 2006.
"This has been a banner year for appeals, especially with values rising so quickly," he said.
Appraisers have to do a thorough review of each appeal, including a site inspection, if possible, before making a recommendation to the Board of Review, he said. "So it takes a while."
As it is, the board can schedule only 20 to 50 appeals a day.
Kurokawa said he couldn't estimate an average time for appeals, saying it depends on the complexity of the property area in question.
"If (owners filing an appeal) did not get a rejection, they should assume that we will be scheduling them and they will be notified by certified mail of a hearing date," he said.
Q: I am on the board of directors for a co-op in Waikiki. Our management company informed me that they did not receive property tax exemptions from the city this year, and had to go down to the office on Aug. 15 and wait for the clerk to issue these. We were surprised that, again, the city is taking so long to get these to us. Why are co-ops adversely affected on finding out about exemptions and not other homeowners?
A: There apparently is some miscommunication or misunderstanding.
The city sends out assessment notices yearly on Dec. 15, said Gary Kurokawa, head of the Real Property Assessment Division. The notices would show the number of exemptions. The first bill is due July 20 and the deadline for payment is Aug. 20.
In a co-op (co-operative) building, owners hold shares in a corporation that owns the building.
So for each co-op, no matter how many units there are, there is only one tax map key, Kurokawa explained. In a condominium, by comparison, each unit has its own TMK.
In a co-op, therefore, the city does not send notices to each shareholder, but just one notice to the co-op corporation, he said.
However, "We do allow those owners that occupy units to file for a homeowner's exemption," Kurokawa said. "We total it up, then apply the exemptions in total to the property."
The city then issues one assessment with one exemption.
What typically happens, Kurokawa said, is that someone from the co-op or management agency will go down to the real property office and ask for a list of the exemptions filed by shareholders shortly after the Dec. 15 notice is received. They will then prorate the exemptions and determine individual tax assessments.
Got a question or complaint?
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