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Lake County property value appeals due Tuesday

Updated: March 18, 2013 6:50AM



Lake County residents have until Tuesday to appeal this year’s reassessed property values.

Sherry Stone-Lucas, director of real estate for the Lake County Assessor’s Office, said so far about 1,000 residents have filed assessment appeals and she wants others to know if they wait for their property tax bills to come out this year it will be too late.

“We’ve been extremely busy,” Stone-Lucas said. While appeals got off to a slow start, last-minute filings have been pouring in. The office averages more than 1,500 appeals each year.

Annual trending has helped to keep the reassessment from resulting in dramatic changes to most property taxes but the statewide cost tables used to establish the baseline value of a property were updated in 2012 resulting in changes.

“Most of the appeals I have looked at, the value has changed not due to the assessment changed but due to the cost tables the state gives us,” Stone-Lucas said.

Barry Wood, assessment division director with the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, said the cost tables are a state-wide baseline compiled by Craftsman Book Co. of Carlsbad, Calif., a company that compiles housing data used by the construction and insurance industries.

“The cost tables are created using national information then tailored for Indiana,” Wood said.

Cost tables were last revised in 2002 for the last 10-year statewide reassessment. He likened the changes in the data to to what a consumer would pay for a product in 2002 and then buying the same product in 2012.

Those cost tables will be revised again in 2013 for taxes payable in 2014. Beginning in 2014, the statewide reassessment will be done on a rolling basis with 25 percent of all types of property in the county reassessed each year, ultimately placing every property on a four-year reassessment cycle so values are more current.

Wood said the cost tables also will be revised more frequently.

Stone-Lucas said since 2012 was the 10-year statewide reassessment, property tax bills must be appealed based on the Form 11s, which were mailed to property owners by their respective assessor’s offices in January. The Lake County Assessor’s Office does the reassessment for all the townships except for Calumet, Ross and St. John.

Property tax appeals must be filed by fax, email or in person by Tuesday or by mail post-dated Tuesday. Residents do not need to have the Form 11 to file. They may obtain a property record card to check their value. Supporting documentation should be filed with any appeal. For information, contact either the township assessor in St. John, Calumet or Ross townships or the Lake County Assessor’s Office for all other townships.

Property owners who disagree with the reassessed value on the Form 11 do have recourse, Stone-Lucas said. Anyone who does not believe their property was assessed at the correct value has until Feb. 19 to file an appeal.

Information about the reassessment and forms taxpayers may need can be found at County Assessor Hank Adams’ website, www.hankadams.com.



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