The Carroll County Equalization Board will begin its session the month of August. This Board is made up of five members charged with the duty of equalizing the assessed value of all properties, located in the county, subjected to taxation.
Anyone wishing to make an appointment with them should call the Carroll County Clerk’s Office at 870-423-2022 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The county equalization board acquires the authority to assess property on August 1 each year. Though the assessor loses authority to assess on August 1, he or she is empowered to make an omitted assessment list and cause such to be placed on the assessment book by the county clerk at any time before collections start in March.
The equalization board meets in regular session during August and September.
(NOTE: If there are no appeals or other necessary work, the equalization board should not meet every day.) During this session, the board should review the assessor's assessments and the September 15 ratio study compiled by the Assessment Coordination Department. During the review, assessment inequities should be isolated and the appropriate corrections made by the equalization board.
Under the requirements of the Federal and State Constitutions, property owners have the right to due process proceedings before an assessment is considered final. The initial step in due process is an appeal to the equalization board. Any property owner may, by petition or letter, apply to the equalization board for the adjustment of the assessment of his or another person's property, providing all applications for adjustments are made before the third Monday in August.
The burden of proof that the property owner has been wrongfully assessed lies with the property owner and not with the assessor. Unless it’s proven inaccurate the assessment made by the assessor stands.
The Arkansas Supreme Court, in its rulings, has provided guidelines to determine whether a property’s value should be reduced by the Equalization Board. These are:
1. The assessment is unfair compared with other lands of the same kind which are similarly situated
2. The assessment is clearly erroneous.
3. The assessment is manifestly excessive.
Act 1567 of 2001 amplified these standards and requires that equalization boards only use them to determine the correctness or incorrectness of an assessment. Act 1567 went further and requires that equalization boards document the reason(s) for changing assessed values and review the assessment of similar properties should they change the value of one.
If the board fails to take action on an appeal before adjourning its regular session or fails to enter into special session to hear a legitimately established appeal, the property owner is entitled to have the board reduce all increases in assessments over the previous year.
The assessor or any property owner who disagrees with the action of the equalization board may appeal such action to the county court by filing a petition of appeal with the county clerk. The appeal must be filed on or before the second Monday in October. Appeals from the decisions of the county court are to circuit court and, ultimately, to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Property owner appeals, in general, go no further than the equalization board. From time to time, however, property owners or the county assessor will appeal to higher judicial bodies - the county courts, circuit courts, and the Arkansas Supreme Court. The county judge sits as the county court for property assessment appeals. The property owner or assessor must file a notice of appeal before the second Monday in October in order for the appeal to be heard. Subsequent appeals, to the circuit or supreme courts, are made following the rules of those courts.