Appeals from real property assessments made by the City & County of Honolulu's (City) Real Property Assessment Division (RPAD) are provided for in ROH Article 8-12.
The City annually sends a Notice of Assessment (NOA) to taxpayers on or before December 15. See the importance of reviewing your NOA.
If a taxpayer has not received the NOA within a few days of December 15, the NOA information is available at Property Records Search.
A taxpayer may contact the RPAD to discuss any questions or concerns regarding the NOA information. Frequently, these discussions result in a clearer understanding of mass appraisal standards and practices utilized by the RPAD in order to produce uniform and equitable assessments throughout the county. In many instances, misunderstandings are cleared up during the discussion.
The City is required by ordinances to assess all real property in its entirety (ROH§E-6.3(a)). This means that the City assesses all properties on their fee simple value unless otherwise mandated by ordinance.
TO FILE AN APPEAL
If a taxpayer does not agree with the assessed value of the property, the classification of the property, or the amount of the exemption allowed, an appeal may be filed by the January 15 deadline to the Board of Review (BOR) of the City by filing online or submitting a completed appeal form BFS-RPA-M-8-12.
GROUNDS FOR APPEAL
When a taxpayer files an appeal, the taxpayer must state the basis for the appeal. The ROH Section 8-12.3 specifies four grounds for appeal.
- Assessment of the property exceeds by more than 10 percent of the market value of the property
- Lack of uniformity or inequality, brought about by illegality of the methods used or error in the application of the methods to the property involved
- Denial of an exemption to which the taxpayer is entitled and for which such person has qualified
- Illegality, on any ground arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States or the laws of the state or the ordinances of the city in addition to the ground of illegality of the methods used mentioned in clause 2.
HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR APPEAL
Provide supporting documentation for an appeal to the assigned appraiser and the BOR. To expedite the appeal process and to minimize wait time for a BOR hearing, taxpayers are encouraged to submit evidence and supporting documentation with the appeal or shortly thereafter. This will enable the assigned appraiser to review the case in a timely manner. If a taxpayer submits evidence separately from the appeal to RPAD, include taxpayer name, Parcel ID/TMK, year of the appeal, contact information such as a phone number, mailing address, and/or email address.
The law provides that the assessment made by the Director of Budget and Fiscal Services is presumed to be correct. This means that every taxpayer who appeals must prove that the assessed value made by the director is incorrect. Unless sufficient evidence is presented, the BOR must decide in favor of the Director's assessment.
While sales of similar properties are examples of evidence, sales transactions between relatives, close friends, and persons with close business relationships are usually not considered sufficient evidence. The fact that a nearby property is assessed lower than that of the property under appeal is not sufficient evidence in and of itself for the BOR to lower an assessment. Taxpayers' support may be in the form of providing the BOR with sales of properties that are similar in terms of land area, square foot of living area, year built or remodeled, and other amenities. Types of documentation may include comparable fee simple market sales, contractor estimates to repair deficient items, and other evidence indicating the assessed value exceeds the fee simple market value by more than 10%.
If a taxpayer filed an appeal last year and the appeal is pending, an appeal on the taxpayer’s behalf will automatically be placed on this 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, the taxpayer must file a new appeal to contest this year's assessment.
Even though a taxpayer has an appeal pending, the taxpayer must pay all taxes by the due dates or be subject to penalty and interest charges. If the taxpayer wins the case, any overpayment will be adjusted.
BOARD OF REVIEW MEMBERS
First Board of Review
Scott Hayashi, Chair
Tina Yim Ting Au, Vice-Chair
Second Board of Review
Randall C. Whattoff, Chair
Jeffrey Freitas, Vice-Chair
Claire E. Goldberg
Third Board of Review
Michael J. Golojuch, Sr., Chair
Jennifer Andrews, Vice-Chair