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April 21, 2020 1:39pm

Guest Post: Kentucky Delays 2020 Real Property Tax Appeal Period for All Counties

In most years, Kentucky’s annual two-week period to appeal values for real property tax purposes starts the first week of May and extends for thirteen (13) days (known as the open inspection period).  If a property owner misses this two-week window, they are shut-out from challenging the value of the property until the following year.  But, given the uncertainty and health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is our understanding that the Kentucky Department of Revenue (“Department”) has now instructed all local property valuation administrators (“PVAs”) to extend this appeal period sixty (60) days until July.

What to Know: Important Dates and Other Changes Due to Extension

First, this is good news as the extension gives individuals and business owners additional time to evaluate whether the real property it owns is overvalued and should be appealed.  This can be a tedious and often complex, but also value-adding, process each year that I previously discussed in another recent article (see: KY Real Property Tax Appeal Guidance).  So, this is one less thing taxpayers need to worry about right now.

Although this statewide extension does not currently appear on the Department’s website (although it does list other tax extensions due to COVID-19, including income tax and business personal property filing/payment extensions[1]), it is my understanding that the Department recently sent an email or letter to all PVAs requiring them to conform to this extension, and the Department has the ability to do so by law under KRS 133.045.  Therefore, instead of the 2020 open inspection period being from May 4, 2020 to May 18, 2020, it will now be from July 6, 2020 to July 20, 2020.

Next, because of the open inspection period extension, all of the other normal timeliness associated with PVAs notifying property owners of changes in their property values have also been adjusted.

Most years Kentuckians receive a notice of assessment (“Notice”) from their local PVA in early April notifying them that the value of their personal and/or business property has increased.  But, due to this statewide extension, many PVAs have not issued any Notices yet or uploaded 2020 values on their online databases for property owners to begin inspecting and potentially appealing.  Based on a review of multiple PVA websites and communications with PVA officials, it appears some PVAs will begin to upload 2020 property values on their websites/online portals soon, but most will not be sending out official Notices of valuation increases until sometime in June.

Examples can be seen from Kentucky’s two largest counties.  The Jefferson County (Louisville) PVA’s website not only confirms the July 6th-20th extension, but also states that annual Notices will not go out until June and that its open inspection period will officially begin on June 26, 2020.[2]  Also, the Fayette County (Lexington) PVA’s website provides even more detail that the 2020 Notices and online values will be done by June 8, 2020, and that taxpayers can begin to officially protest/appeal these values that same date through July 20th.[3]

While these larger PVAs may publicly announce these extensions on their websites, many other PVAs may not have such notices on their websites soon or possibly at all.  So, if you own property in multiple counties in Kentucky, it is recommended that you reach out directly to the local PVA offices to confirm the extensions and any other adjustments to the normal property tax calendar (e.g., when values will be posted/available, when you can appeal an increase, etc.).

Another important change is it appears that PVAs are not allowing any in-person conferences even during the July period for COVID-19 issues, so all appeals/protest conferences must be done remotely in some form or fashion.  This is not much of an issue in Jefferson or Fayette counties because their protest conferences are primarily done online anyways, but many county PVAs that do not have these online capabilities/resources may be forced to allow protests to be done not only via telephone but possibly via email, fax or some other electronic medium.

Given all of the above, it is critical that you call your local PVA, and/or your trusted local tax professional, to discuss these changes because while these are unprecedented times and PVAs may be more flexible with the forms/ways to appeal your 2020 value, the annual two-week appeal period is statutorily based and if you miss that timeframe, you will be prohibited from challenging increases in property value (and the corresponding tax increases) this year.

About Frost Brown Todd

Frost Brown Todd is a full-service law firm with more than 525 lawyers across a nine-state footprint. Dedicated to refining the art of client service, we leverage technical, industry and legal knowledge and hands-on experience to serve a diverse client base, from leading multinationals to small, entrepreneurial companies.

Daniel Mudd’s practice focuses on state and local tax planning, controversy and incentives matters, including property tax, sales tax, excise tax (tobacco, alcohol and gaming), income tax, employment tax and local business tax. Daniel is also a leader of the Firm’s Manufacturing Industry Team, and heads up its Consumable Goods Subteam which oversees all hemp, alcohol, tobacco, food and beverage clients.

Prior to his legal career, Daniel worked for the Kentucky Senate President’s Office during multiple legislative sessions, where he gained experience in the legislative process and the political landscape in Frankfort.

Beyond his practice, Daniel has quickly risen to obtain a prominent leadership role throughout the Bar and the community, including currently serving multiple national and local professional and industry organizations, such as the Independent SALT Alliance, Greater Louisville Inc.’s (GLI) Business Competitiveness Committee and GLI’s Tax Reform Task Force, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, and Kentucky Wholesale Distributors Association, to name a few. Previously, he served as the Chairman of the Tax Sections for both the Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) and the Louisville Bar Association (LBA), as well as counsel for the Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL) and its charitable arm YPAL Cares, Inc. He also helped found a local giving circle, [give 502]. Click here to contact Daniel.