December 4, 2012
New Orleans Bar Association, 650 Poydras Street, Suite 1505
Contact NOBA at (504) 525-7453 for information.
New Orleanians love second lines but all lines are not created equal. NOBA has heard complaints from taxpayers about the long lines down at City Hall during the open rolls period this year and in prior years. These lines are not just an unpleasant experience for those who have spent twelve hours on their feet this year waiting to get in the door. Concerns have been raised about whether the existence of prohibitively long lines effectively deny many other taxpayers due process of law.
The Tax Law Committee wants to make this year’s line – several thousand people long – the last line. The Tax Law Committee is soliciting members for a Last Line Task Force to study the issues raised by recent property tax assessment open rolls period procedures in Orleans Parish. The Task Force will seek a meeting with the Assessor’s office to discuss ways to decrease the burden on taxpayers who wish to challenge the correctness of proposed property tax assessments during the annual two week open rolls period and to ensure that Orleans Parish taxpayers have a meaningful opportunity to discuss correctness issues during the open rolls period with the Assessor.
Orleans Parish saw increased assessments (valuations) of 41,000 properties this year. By law, a taxpayer has the right to seek adjustment to the “correctness” of a property assessment (as opposed to the “legality” or taxability of the property) first with the assessor’s office during the public inspection period, and then, if the issue cannot be resolved there, the assessment is subject to review by the parish governing body, then by the Louisiana Tax Commission, and finally by the courts. The tax rolls containing the assessment must be properly open for inspection for at least two weeks every year, a taxpayer allowed sufficient opportunity to question a valuation before being required to file an appeal.
The courts have held that this process satisfies a taxpayer’s due process rights. Further, state law requires that taxpayers have a meaningful opportunity to “inspect” the rolls during the open rolls period and to raise any concerns about correctness of assessments with the Assessor before being required to file an appeal. This has been increasingly difficult in Orleans Parish for the last few years.
Join the Last Line. The Task Force will study ways in which the process might be streamlined. If you are interested in participating in this project or have information you would like to share with the Task Force, please contact Kelsey Foster at 504-525-7453.