A number of Connecticut towns have begun town wide real property revaluations which are mandated by State Statute to occur every five years. Locally, Darien, New Canaan, and Norwalk are all currently going through the town wide revaluation process, which started in October 2023.

The town wide revaluation resets what is referred to as the “Grand List”. The Grand List is the value of all residential and commercial properties in each town that make up the town’s property tax base. Taxpayers are then taxed on the assessed value of each property which is equal to 70 percent of the fair market value of the property. Each town’s Board of Finance uses the Grand List to set the town’s annual mill rate in order to ensure sufficient funding for the annual budget.

All three towns have hired an outside company to perform the revaluation. The revaluation company will look at sales within the past year and use those sale values to set the assessment for similar homes. At the end of the revaluation process, property owners will receive notification of the new assessed value.

It is important to take time to review your new assessment carefully and compare your assessed value to the sale price of similar homes that sold in your neighborhood in the past year. If you are not aware of any similar houses that have sold in your neighborhood, it may be worthwhile to hire an appraiser to perform an appraisal of your property as of the revaluation date, which was October 1, 2023. 

If you believe there is a discrepancy of your property value between your calculation and the town’s, you will have an opportunity to appeal your new assessment to the town’s Board of Assessment Appeals. The deadline to file an appeal is February 20, 2024 and appeal forms will be available on the individual town’s websites. Note, that if you miss the deadline to appeal your new assessment to the Board of Assessment Appeals you cannot challenge your assessment until February 2025.  

If you decide to appeal your assessment to the Board of Assessment Appeals, you should bring a list of comparable sales that support your position on the value of your property as of October 1, 2023. The easiest way to do this is to appear with an independent appraisal of your property, but any list of comparable sales is acceptable.

If you are dissatisfied with the result of the Board of Assessment Hearing the next step is to appeal the town’s decision to the Connecticut Superior Court. This appeal must be taken within two months of the date that the notice of the Board of Assessment Appeals decision is postmarked. 

Because of the active local housing market many homeowners may see their assessment go up in this revaluation cycle. For example, the Town of Darien is estimating assessments to have increased between 26% and 33% town wide. However, do not assume that any assessment increase will automatically result in a proportional increase in taxes. As was stated at the outset, the mil rate is based on the total Grand List. If the value of the Grand List goes up, the mil rate will go down if the town’s budget needs have not changed. Therefore, a higher assessment does not directly indicate a higher tax bill. For this reason, it is essential that you carefully review your new assessment and be prepared to appeal it to the Board of Assessment Appeals if it is not in line with the other homes in your neighborhood.

If you wait to review your new assessment once your new tax bill comes out in June 2024, it will be too late to appeal for the current tax year.

The appeals process can be a tedious one. If you need assistance, Rucci Law Group can help guide you through it.

Amy S. Zabetakis is one of founding members of Rucci Law Group, LLC. She practices primarily in the areas of real estate, zoning and land use litigation. Amy can be reached at (203) 202-9686 or at azabetakis@ruccilawgroup.com