FAQs: Protest My Taxes
Read Amendment 79 Here.
Amendment 79 does place a freeze on REAL ESTATE Property, but only on the assessed value and not on the millage. If the millage is voted on and passed by the PEOPLE, ALL the REAL ESTATE Tax bill increase in that school district. For more information, call the assessor at 501-303-5622.
Also, if you make substantial improvements to your property (a swimming pool, additional square footage, etc.) your taxes will go up. The assessor needs to be notified when your age is 65 for the freeze to take effect.
The equalization board serves a vital role in the assessment and collection of all property taxes. Each county has its own equalization board composed of five to nine citizens, depending on population size. Board members are appointed by the county judge, the mayors of the principal cities of the county, the school districts and the county quorum court (Arkansas Code 26-27-304). The county clerk or clerk’s designee serves as secretary for the equalization board.
This board has two major purposes:
1. To ensure assessment equity – Under Arkansas law, assessments within the county must be equitable. This does not mean all taxpayers will pay the same amount of tax, but rather the market value of property and assessments will be made using the same standards for everyone within the county. The only exception is for agricultural, timber or pasture land, which is assessed on use value rather than market value.
2. To provide an avenue for appeal of assessments – The second major function of the equalization board is to hear property owners’ appeals when there are disagreements with an assessment.
The equalization board takes control of county assessments on August 1, after the county assessor has determined the assessed value of the taxpayer’s property. It may change the assessed value if there is an error in the original value estimate. The county equalization board may also make broadbased changes in property assessments if it determines that the changes are necessary to equitably distribute the property tax burden in the county.
Once the equalization board decides the county assessments are equitable, the millage rate is then applied to the assessed value to determine each property owner’s tax bill.
The equalization board follows the schedule listed below:
Each year the equalization board meets beginning August 1 and continuing through October 1. In counties where assessed value is not reflective of true or fair market value, the board must continue meeting until all assessments are equalized and all requests for adjustment have been considered, but no later than the third Monday in November (Arkansas Code 26-27-309).
Notice of changes in assessment of real property must be sent to taxpayers no later than 10 business days after July 1 of each assessment year (Arkansas Code 26-23-203).
Dates for hearing individual appeal cases are scheduled by the county clerk upon request of taxpayers (property owners). Requests for appeal must be filed with the county clerk by the third Monday in August (Arkansas Code 26-27-317).
The burden of proof that the property owner has been wrongfully assessed lies with the property owner, not the county assessor. Property owners can appeal their assessment without using a lawyer. If the property owner disagrees with the ruling of the equalization board, the property owner may further appeal the ruling to the following in order:
County Court or County Judge
Arkansas Supreme Court
It is the taxpayers responsibility to make sure their personal property and real estate taxes are paid on time. Failure to receive a statement does not excuse you from the taxes or the penalties and interest.