The Real Property Assessment Division annually sends a notice of assessment to property owners, showing the assessed value of the property, the general land class of the property, and the amount of exemption, if any. However, prior to filing an appeal, you are encouraged to contact the appraisers at 4444 Rice Street, Suite 454, Lihue, HI 96766 to discuss any questions you may have; in many instances, misunderstandings are cleared up during this discussion.
INFORMATION FOR TAXPAYERS CONCERNING
PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS APPEALS TO THE BOARD OF REVIEW
Appeals from real property assessments made by the Real Property Assessment Division are provided for in Chapter 5A of the Kauai County Code. However, taxpayers are not generally aware of the responsibilities placed on them when they do file an appeal to the Board of Review.
The Board of Review believes it would be helpful to taxpayers if they were better able to understand their obligations in this regard. Considerable time of taxpayers and board members could be saved if taxpayers were aware of the requirements which must be met in presenting their "case" at appeal hearings.
The County of Kauai is required by Chapter5A of the Kauai County Code, to assess all real property in its entirety.
A taxpayer who files an appeal is obliged to present "proper evidence" to the Board of Review in support of the appeal at the scheduled hearing. The law clearly provides that the assessment made by the Director of Budget and Fiscal Services is presumed to be correct. This means that every person who appeals must show by "proper evidence" that the assessed value made by the director is incorrect. One way of doing this is for the taxpayer to prove that the property value stated in the appeal is correct. Unless "proper evidence" is presented, the board must decide in favor of the Director's assessment.
Some examples of "proper evidence" are: sales of similar properties or construction cost estimated of the replacement cost of the improvements by an experienced licensed contractor or cost estimator if improvement valuations are appealed. While sales of similar properties are "proper evidence", sales transactions between relatives, close friends, and persons with close business relationships are usually not considered "proper evidence." The fact that a nearby property is assessed lower than that of the property under appeals not sufficient evidence of itself for the Board to lower an assessment. The Real Property Assessment Division uses valid arms length comparable sales to arrive at annual market values as of the October 1, to set the assessments each year.
The personnel of the Real Property Assessment Division are always willing to answer questions and review assessment problems with property taxpayers. In most instances, these discussion result in a clearer understanding of standards and practices utilized by the Division in providing a relatively high degree of fairness in Hawaii's property assessments.
When you file an appeal, you must state the basis for your appeal. For real property tax cases, the law specifies five grounds for appeal.
- The assessed value of the property exceeds by more than fifteen percent (15%) the ratio assessment to market value.
- There is lack of uniformity or inequity resulting from the use of illegal assessment methods or an error in the application of the methods
- Denial of an exemption or dedication to which you are entitled for which all requirements are met.
- Illegal or unconstitutional methods used to arrive at the assessment.
- Use Tax Classification: Owner believes the property should be classified as _______________________
Board of Review - Owner must remit a cost deposit of $75 for each appeal.
Small Claims section of the State Tax Appeal Court - $25 non-refundable deposit
Tax Appeal Court - $100 non-refundable deposit
Board of Review forms (Form P-51) are available from the county at:
Real Property Assessment
4444 Rice Street, Suite 454
Lihue, Hi 96766
Appeal Form (P-51) Appeal to Real Property Board of Review(PDF, 686KB)
Tax Appeal and Small Claims form are available from the state at:
The Court House in Lihue
Tax Appeal Court
777 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
If you filed an appeal last year and the appeal is pending, an appeal on your behalf will automatically be place on the year's assessment, provided the new assessment was not changed from the assessment under appeal. However, if this year's valuation differs from the valuation under appeal, you must file a new appeal if you want to contest this year's assessment.
As the appealing taxpayer, you must prove that the assessor's assessment of your property is incorrect. You can best do this by submitting construction cost data or data from sales from comparable properties which support your position.
(NOTE: Property is assessed on its fee simple basis)
Even though you have an appeal pending, you must pay all taxes by the due dates or you will be charged a penalty. If you win your case, any overpayment will be refunded.
If you've filed a tax appeal with the Board of Review and disagree with its decisions you may appealto the state Tax Appeal Court. Such an appeal must be filed within 30 days after the Boards decision is filed.
The state Tax Appeal Court requires that you file one original and three copies of the appeal notice. Subsequent to filing with the Tax Appeal Court, you must serve notice of the filing to the county's real property assessor and the county's corporation counsel with one copy each of the receipted appeal noticed. Finally, after serving the corporation counsel and the assessor with such notice, you must file a certificate of service with the state Tax Appeal Court, stating such fact. The cost for filing an appeal with the Tax Appeal Court is a $100 non-refundable deposit. The court clerk will notify the parties involved of the place, date and time of the proceedings.
Appeals may be made under the small claims procedure of the state Tax Appeal Court if the amount of tax in dispute is less than $1,000. Under this procedure, appeals are initiated by filing an appeal notice (one original and three copies) with the clerk of Tax Appeals Court and paying a non-refundable $25 fee. Unlike appeals to the Tax Appeal Court, you waive your right of appeal to the Supreme Court if you elect to go through the small claims procedure.
An appeal on the Board of Review's decisions may also be filed through the small claims procedure and it must be filed within 30 days of the Board of Review's decisions has been filed. The Small Claims appeals may be filed at the court House in Lihue.