Chapter 8.16
APPEAL – REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO PROPERTY TAXPAYERS SEEKING RELIEF
FROM TAXES ASSESSED OR PAID1

Sections:

8.16.010    Appeal.

8.16.020    Claims based on a manifest clerical error made by the borough.

8.16.030    Claims based on a manifest clerical error made by the taxpayer.

8.16.040    Claims based on the tax exempt status of property.

8.16.050    Claims based on an incorrect determination of the board of equalization.

8.16.060    Claims based on taxes paid under protest.

8.16.010 Appeal.

A. Right to Appeal.

1. Valuation. A person whose name appears on the assessment roll or the agent or assigns of that person may appeal to the board of equalization for relief from an alleged error in valuation not adjusted by the assessor to the appellant’s satisfaction.

a. Appeal Deadline. Unless there is a determination that the taxpayer was unable to comply, the appellant contesting a property valuation not adjusted to the appellant’s satisfaction shall, no later than 30 days after the date of mailing notice of assessment, submit to the assessor a written appeal specifying grounds in the form that the board of equalization may require.

b. Unable to Comply Determination. A person who missed the 30-day valuation appeal deadline may request a deadline extension from the board of equalization by demonstrating inability to comply with the deadline. The extension request affidavit and the written valuation appeal must be filed with the assessor no later than 30 days from the date of the close of the applicable appeal period of that tax year.

i. If the extension request is granted for a valuation appeal, the valuation appeal will be set for hearing and the appellant and the property owner will be given notice of the hearing.

ii. If the extension request is denied, the clerk’s office shall notify the appellant and the property owner of the board’s decision.

2. Farm Use. An applicant for a farm use assessment who believes that the valuation or classification assigned to the land that is the subject of the application is erroneous may appeal to the board of equalization.

a. Appeal Deadline. Unless there is a determination that the taxpayer was unable to comply, the applicant contesting a farm use valuation and/or classification shall, no later than 30 days after the date of mailing notice of the assessment and/or classification, submit to the assessor a written appeal specifying grounds in the form that the board of equalization may require.

b. Unable to Comply Determination. A person who missed the 30-day farm use valuation appeal deadline may request a deadline extension from the board of equalization by demonstrating inability to comply with the deadline. The extension request affidavit and the written valuation appeal must be filed with the assessor no later than 30 days from the date of the close of the applicable appeal period of that tax year.

i. If the extension request is granted for a farm use valuation appeal, the valuation appeal will be set for hearing and the appellant and the property owner will be given notice of the hearing.

ii. If the extension request is denied, the clerk’s office shall notify the appellant and the property owner of the board’s decision.

3. Senior Citizen or Disabled Veteran Exemption. An applicant aggrieved by any determination of the assessor regarding a senior citizen or disabled veteran property tax exemption may appeal to the board of equalization.

a. Appeal Deadline. Unless there is a determination that the taxpayer was unable to comply, an applicant contesting a determination of the assessor regarding a senior citizen or disabled veteran property tax exemption shall, no later than 10 days after the date of mailing of the assessor’s decision, submit to the assessor a written appeal specifying grounds in the form that the board of equalization may require.

b. Unable to Comply Determination. A person who missed the senior citizen or disabled veteran exemption application deadline may request a deadline extension from the assessor by demonstrating inability to comply with the deadline. The extension request affidavit and the exemption application must be filed with the assessor prior to May 1st of the year for which the exemption is sought.

i. If the extension request is granted for the exemption application deadline, the assessor shall accept the application as if timely filed.

ii. If the extension request is denied for the exemption application deadline, the applicant may appeal the decision to the assembly by filing a notice of appeal with the clerk within 10 working days of the date of the assessor’s decision.

4. Residential Homeowner Exemption Unable to Comply Determination. A person who missed the residential homeowner exemption application deadline as provided by FNSBC 8.04.060(I) may request a deadline extension from the assessor by demonstrating inability to comply with the deadline. The extension request affidavit and the exemption application must be filed with the assessor prior to May 1st of the year for which the exemption is sought.

i. If the extension request is granted for the exemption application deadline, the assessor shall accept the application as if timely filed.

ii. If the extension request is denied for the exemption application deadline, the applicant may appeal the decision to the board of equalization by filing a notice of appeal with the assessor within 10 working days of the date of the assessor’s decision. If the board of equalization grants the extension request, the assessor shall accept the exemption application as if timely filed.

B. Unable to Comply Determinations. For purposes of this chapter, “unable to comply” or “inability to comply” means that the failure to timely appeal was based upon a serious medical or other similar serious condition or event beyond the taxpayer’s control. A failure to pick up or read mail, or to make arrangements for an appropriate and responsible person to pick up or read mail, or a failure to timely provide a current address to the office of the borough assessor, will not be deemed to result in an inability to comply and the appeal will not be accepted for that tax year.

1. All assertions of inability to comply must be filed by an affidavit and supporting documentation, if any, setting forth the reasons why the applicant or appellant was unable to file by the deadline.

2. The assessor shall supply to the appropriate decision maker all relevant information and documents including the affidavit and supporting documents submitted by the applicant or appellant and any documents specifically requested by the decision maker. The decision maker shall consider the extension request only on the submitted documents and shall not consider evidence regarding property valuation or exemption.

3. The authority provided in this chapter to grant extensions may not be exercised so as to permit acceptance of an application or appeal other than for the current year.

C. Notice of Hearing. The assessor for a board of equalization hearing or the clerk for a hearing before the assembly shall notify an appellant and the property owner by mail of the time and place of hearing. The notices shall be mailed not later than 10 calendar days before the date of the hearing. Exemption appeals shall follow the procedures provided in FNSBC 4.04.150(B). (De novo hearings involving an appeal from an administrative determination.)

D. Summary of Assessment Data. The assessor shall prepare for use by the board of equalization a summary of assessment data relating to each valuation assessment that is appealed. Upon request of the appellant, the assessor shall provide the appellant with the assessment data that will be presented to the board of equalization relating to each valuation assessment that is appealed.

E. Appeals by City. A city in the borough may appeal an assessment to the borough board of equalization in the same manner as a taxpayer. Within five days after receipt of the appeal, the assessor shall notify the person whose property assessment is being appealed by the city. (Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.001.)

8.16.020 Claims based on a manifest clerical error made by the borough.

A. The assembly may correct manifest clerical errors in an assessment notice, tax statement or other borough tax record at any time. A manifest clerical error is a typographical, computational, or other similar error readily apparent from the assessment notice, tax statement or other borough tax record and made by a borough employee in the performance of his typing, record keeping, filing or other similar duties.

B. If the borough discovers a manifest clerical error, then the mayor shall take reasonable steps to notify the taxpayer of the taxpayer’s right to file a claim. To obtain relief from a manifest clerical error made by the borough, whether discovered by the borough or the taxpayer, the taxpayer must file a claim with the borough assessor, briefly describing the manifest clerical error and stating the relief sought. The borough assessor shall investigate the claim and if the borough assessor determines that there is a manifest clerical error, then the borough assessor shall correct the manifest clerical error. If the borough assessor determines that there is not a manifest clerical error, then the borough assessor shall present the claim and the report of the investigation to the mayor who will forward the claim and report to the assembly for action. (Ord. 86-094 § 4, 1986; Ord. 86-024 § 5, 1986. 2004 Code § 3.28.010.)

8.16.030 Claims based on a manifest clerical error made by the taxpayer.

If, in payment of taxes legally imposed, a remittance by a taxpayer through manifest clerical error or otherwise exceeds the amount due, and the mayor, on audit of the account in question, is satisfied that this is the case, then the mayor shall take reasonable steps to notify the taxpayer of the taxpayer’s right to file a claim and shall refund the excessive remittance with interest at eight percent from the date of payment, after the taxpayer has filed a claim for refund with the mayor. However, a claim for refund filed later than one year after the due date of the tax is forever barred. A manifest clerical error is a typographical, computational, or other similar error readily apparent from the assessment notice, tax statement, borough tax records or the taxpayer’s records, and which is made by the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s agent. (Ord. 86-024 § 5, 1986. 2004 Code § 3.28.020.)

8.16.040 Claims based on the tax exempt status of property.

A taxpayer who claims that property is not taxable under law may appeal a determination of the assessor that property is taxable directly to the superior court as provided by rules of court applicable to appeals from the decisions of administrative agencies, or the taxpayer may first appeal to the board of equalization as provided by law. (Ord. 2015-38 § 2, 2015; Ord. 2015-28 § 3, 2015; Ord. 86-024 § 5, 1986. 2004 Code § 3.28.030.)

8.16.050 Claims based on an incorrect determination of the board of equalization.

An appellant or the assessor may appeal a determination of the board of equalization to the superior court not later than 30 days from the date that the order appealed from is mailed or delivered to the appellant, and as provided by rules of court applicable to appeals from the decisions of administrative agencies or an appellant taxpayer may pay the taxes under protest as provided by law, or an appellant-taxpayer may do both. Appeals to the superior court are heard on the record established at the hearing before the board of equalization. (Ord. 87-004 § 12, 1987; Ord. 86-024 § 5, 1986. 2004 Code § 3.28.040.)

8.16.060 Claims based on taxes paid under protest.

A. If a taxpayer pays taxes under protest, the taxpayer may bring suit as provided by rules of court applicable to appeals from decisions of administrative agencies in the superior court against the borough for recovery of the taxes. If judgment for recovery is given against the borough or if, in the absence of suit, it becomes obvious to the assembly that judgment for recovery of the taxes would be obtained if legal proceedings were brought, the borough shall refund the amount of the taxes that would be awarded if judgment were ordered by the court to the taxpayer with interest at eight percent from the date of payment plus litigation costs as provided by law.

B. A taxpayer pays taxes under protest only if the taxpayer has:

1. Requested the assessor make a correction of the taxpayer’s assessment notice as provided by law; and

2. Appealed to the board of equalization as provided by law; and

3. Timely paid the full amount of the taxes as shown on the applicable tax statement and filed a written claim for refund of the taxes containing the name and address of the taxpayer, a concise statement of the reasons the taxpayer asserts as grounds for a refund, and such other information as the taxpayer shall deem necessary. The claim for refund shall be filed with the mayor not more than 30 days after the taxpayer paid the taxes in full; and if

4. The assembly has rendered a decision on the matter in accordance with subsections (C), (D) and (E) of this section, or the assembly has failed to act on the matter within a reasonable time.

C. The mayor shall forward a claim for refund to the borough legal department. An attorney from the legal department, other than the attorney who advised the board of equalization at the taxpayer’s board of equalization hearing, shall prepare a written opinion as to whether there is clear and convincing evidence to establish that judgment for a refund of all or part of the taxes would be obtained if legal proceedings were brought. The opinion shall be based on all information submitted by the taxpayer, the borough tax records, and the record of the board of equalization hearing.

D. The reviewing attorney shall forward his opinion and the information on which his opinion was based to the borough clerk. The clerk shall set the matter for public hearing before the assembly and shall mail notice of the time and place of the hearing to the taxpayer at the address contained on the taxpayer’s claim for refund. The notice is sufficient if it is mailed by the first class mail not less than 10 days before the hearing. If the assembly determines, based on the matters presented at the public hearing, the attorney’s opinion, the record of the board of equalization hearing, the borough tax records, and the information submitted by the taxpayer, that it is obvious that judgment for refund of taxes would be obtained if legal proceedings were brought, the borough shall refund the amount of the taxes that would be awarded if judgment were ordered by the court, as provided by subsection (A) of this section.

E. The borough clerk shall mail a copy of the decision of the assembly to the taxpayer at the address on the claim for refund specified in subsection (B)(3) of this section. (Ord. 86-024 § 5, 1986. 2004 Code § 3.28.050.)


1

    For statutory provisions outlining the procedure for appeal to the board of equalization, see AS 29.45; for provisions establishing the board of equalization, see AS 29.45; for provisions relating to the board hearings, see AS 29.45.