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If your Lexington property value notice has you shocked, you can appeal. Here’s how

It’s that time of year again, when notices from the Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator go out in the mail and offer property owners a hint of what their tax bill will be when it arrives in October.

According to Fayette County PVA David O’Neill, it’s a busy year, with assessment notices going out to about 25,000 residents.

Under Kentucky law, all real property parcels must be assessed by PVA offices at least once every four years. When homes have been selling for as much as they have in Lexington, it’s not uncommon for owners to get sticker shock when they open their assessment notices.

“We only reassess somebody once every four years in a market where prices are going up 10% a year,” O’Neill said. “It’s not uncommon for us to see 30, 40, 50% increases.”

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If you’re a property owner due to be assessed this year and your notice has your eyes watering, don’t fret. You still have time to appeal your assessment, and many have luck doing so. Here’s a quick walk through how to appeal, what the deadline is and what your chances of success are.

Also, if you’re a homeowner age 65 or older or are receiving disability payments, you may qualify for the Homestead Exemption, meaning you could get tens of thousands knocked off your assessment. According to the Kentucky Department of Revenue, the exemption amount for the 2023-24 assessment years is $46,350.

When is the deadline to appeal Fayette County property valuations?

If you plan to appeal, keep in mind you have until May 20 to do so.

After that date, the “open inspection period” ends and property values can no longer be appealed or changed.

“That’s the most critical day. Don’t let (the) end of day Monday, May 20 come and go without talking to us if you want to,” O’Neill told the Herald-Leader.

If you don’t appeal your assessment, you’ll most likely be stuck waiting until the open inspection period next year, meaning you can expect a higher property tax bill this year.

It’s also worth noting you do not have to receive an assessment notice to challenge the assessed value of your property. You can visit the Fayette County PVA’s website, look up your property, view its assessed value and take things from there.

You can start the process now by going to FayettePVA.com/protest.

Outside of Fayette or Jefferson counties, for the current tax year, the open inspection period begins May 6 and ends May 20.

According to the Frost, Brown, Todd law firm, this roughly two-week period is only the minimum required by state law. The period begins the first Monday in May and continues for 13 days, excluding Sundays. Counties can choose to extend the period to allow more of their residents to appeal, so be sure to verify the start and end dates for appeals in your area.

How do I appeal my property value?

The Fayette County PVA typically has protests begin online, with follow ups available by phone, email or teleconference.

If you received an assessment notice, take note of the contact information for a Fayette County PVA office representative included on the notice.

To make your appeal convincing, you’ll need to pull together as much supporting documentation as possible. This includes:

  • Sales of comparable properties

  • Recent appraisals

  • Photographs

  • Insurance policies

  • Construction costs

  • Listings for sale

  • Contracts

If you can’t come to an accord with the Fayette County PVA office, your next step is to appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals through the Fayette County Clerk’s Office. You have until May 22 to take that step, according to the local PVA office’s website. The office advises calling the clerk’s office at 859-253-3344, extension 3.

You can also send the clerk’s office an email at fccappeal@fayettecountyclerk.com.

If you make the appeal through a paid representative, they must have a letter of authorization from you, the property owner.

Beyond the local board appeal, you can appeal to the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals and ultimately to circuit court.

A graphic from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government showing where property tax dollar proceeds go.
A graphic from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government showing where property tax dollar proceeds go.

Is it worth it to appeal?

The decision of whether it’s worth your time will come down to you. O’Neill emphasized his office is willing to hear people out and take their appeals seriously.

“We do our best to work with them,” O’Neill said.

There’s a good chance those who make appeals will see at least some difference on their assessment, O’Neill said.

The PVA office uses software to look at data from five sales of property comparable to the property being assessed. The software then uses that data to come up with both a specific dollar amount but also an assessment range for the office to work with, O’Neill said.

During the appeals process, you’ll have the opportunity to provide additional information and context that could swing the outcome of the final assessment. Because of that, “It’s more likely than not they will see some difference in the assessment,” O’Neill said.

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