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Protesting Property Tax Valuations: Key Dates and Deadlines to Keep in Mind for 2020

Tis the season for holiday joy and cheer, but with all the hustle and bustle of November and December comes the new year and the start to tax and property valuation season. Don’t let this tax season “fly by” when it comes to knowing your rights to protest property valuations, and more importantly don’t miss the important deadline dates for when you can protest. So as you enter this busy time of year and count down the days to the end of the year and the start of 2020, please keep in mind the key dates and deadlines for protesting your property tax valuation.

• January 1, 2020: Under Nebraska Statute all real property subject to taxation shall be assessed as of January 1 at 12:01 a.m. and used as a basis of taxation until the next assessment unless the property is destroyed.
• January 15, 2020: If own real property in a county with a population of at least one hundred and fifty thousand (>150,000) inhabitants according to the most recent census, the County Assessor is required to provided you notice of a preliminary valuation of your real property by January 15th of each year. Notice will either be mailed directly to you or published on the County or County Assessor’s website.
• March 19, 2020: If you own real property in a county with a population less than one hundred and fifty thousand (<150,000) inhabitants according to the most recent census, the County Assessor is required to complete the valuation assessment for your real property by March 19 of each year.
• March 25, 2020: If you own real property in a county with a population of at least one hundred and fifty thousand (<150,000) inhabitants according to the most recent census, the County Assessor is required to complete the valuation assessment for your real property by March 25 of each year.

Immediately upon completion of the valuation assessments, the County Assessor must publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the county that an assessment roll is complete and that notices of valuation changes have been mailed and identify the final date for filing valuation protests.

• June 1, 2020: Under Nebraska Statute the County Assessor is required to notify the owner of record as of May 20, 2020, of every item of real property which has been assessed at a value different than the previous year. Such notice shall be given by first-class mail addressed to the owner’s last known address, and the notice will identify the item of real property, state the old and new valuation, the date of convening of the county board of equalization, and the dates for filing a protest.
• June 1, 2020: Property Tax Valuation Assessment Protests can start being filed with the County Board of Equalization. Such protests regarding personal property must be signed and filed on or before June 30, 2020.
• June 1, 2020: Property Tax Valuation Assessment Protests may start being heard by the County Board of Equalization or an appointed referee. Such hearings can be held up to July 25, 2020 unless the county has a population of at least one hundred and fifty thousand (>150,000) inhabitants according to the most recent census, then the county may extend the deadline of hearings to August 10, 2020.
• June 6, 2020: The County Assessor must annually post in their office, and as designated by the county board, mail to a newspaper of general circulation and to licensed broadcast media in the county the assessment ratios as found in his or her county as determined by the Tax Equalization and Review Commission.
• June 30, 2020: This is the deadline to sign and file a Property Tax Valuation Assessment Protest. This is a hard deadline, protests mailed via U.S. mail must be postmarked by this date.
• July 25, 2020: This is the last day hearings may be heard by the County Board of Equalization or an appointed referee, unless the county has a population of at least one hundred and fifty thousand (>150,000) inhabitants according to the most recent census and extended the deadline of hearings to August 10, 2020.
• August 2, 2020: The County Board of Equalization are required to notify owners of the results of their protests by this date, unless the county has a population of at least one hundred and fifty thousand (>150,000) inhabitants according to the most recent census, then the county has until August 18, 2020 to notify owners of the results.
• August 10, 2020: This is the last date the County Board of Equalization can conduct protest hearings if the county has a population of at least one hundred and fifty thousand (>150,000) inhabitants according to the most recent census and elected to extend the deadline.
• August 18, 2020: If the County Board of Equalization hearings were extended to August 10, 2020, this is the date the Board is required to notify owners of the results of their protest.
• August 24, 2020: This is the deadline to appeal any action taken by the County Board of Equalization to the Tax Equalization and Review Commission if the deadline date to send you the results of your protest was August 2, 2020.
• September 10, 2020: This is the deadline to appeal any action taken by the County Board of Equalization to the Tax Equalization and Review Commission if the deadline date to send you the results of your protest was August 24, 2020.

The dates provided above are the deadlines provided by Nebraska Statute. Different counties may have different procedures and processes for the protest’s hearings, and it is important to know those process requirements as well.

Attorneys at Vandenack Weaver can assist you at any step of the protest process and help identify why the county’s valuation is wrong and help you, the property owner, save money on property taxes for the upcoming tax year.

VW Contributor: Ryan Coufal