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Kansas Passes Tax Reform

by Ken Parsons, Senior Vice President, July 2014

 

In response to criticism about the fairness and speed of the property tax appeal system in Kansas, the Legislature passed SB 231. The new law that went into effect July 1, changes the Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) to a Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) as part of an effort to promote a more open, less formal, more taxpayer-friendly appeal system.

 

Fairness

 

SB 231 lowers the interest rate on delinquent property taxes and allows retroactive appeals of the tax court back to May 2, 2012. More importantly, it provides for expanded appeal options by allowing taxpayers to take their case to any Kansas district court, which would hear it de novo. This allows the court to hear evidence that may have been denied at the Board level.

 

The law authorizes the taxpayer and the county to come to a settlement agreement if they choose, something that the previous Court of Tax Appeals did not allow.

 

Also, if the taxpayer wins an appeal, the property valuation will remain in effect for two years. Apparently there were some cases where taxpayers won their appeal and had to go through the same appeal process the following year.

 

Speed

 

Under the new law, a summary decision must be made within 14 days with a full decision required within 90 days. Filing fees will be refunded if the Board fails to deliver a summary or full decision within these respective deadlines.

 

Appeal Opportunities

 

To take advantage of the new law, you must appeal your 2014 taxes either by continuing the appeal process started in the spring or by protesting your taxes at the time of payment due by December 20, 2014.