If you believe your real estate is incorrectly assessed, you can file an appeal of your property's assessment. The Department of Tax Administration (DTA) recommends that you first discuss your assessment with our staff. You can call 703-222-8234 [TTY 711] or send an inquiry by email. If you need general assessment information, you may call the Automated Information System at 703-222-6740.
Appeals should be based on either fair market value, lack of uniformity or errors in property description. Simply saying the increase in value is too much in a single year is NOT a legal basis for an appeal. The Constitution of Virginia, Article X, Section 2, requires real estate assessments to represent fair market value. There is no provision in the law limiting the amount or percentage of change from year to year; however, DTA will gladly discuss your assessment and how it was derived.
For residential properties, you should provide market value sales that demonstrate the assessment is not at fair market value, or provide similar comparables to prove lack of uniformity.
For commercial or income producing properties, it is important that the appropriate income and expense survey form has been filed with our office. If you need assistance or are not sure whether we have received your income information, please email or call 703-222-8234 [TTY 711], and DTA will be happy to check our records.
If an agent is filing an appeal on your behalf, DTA requires a signed and notarized letter of authorization from the property owner stating the relationship of the agent to the property owner and granting the agent the authority to represent the property owner. The original letter of authorization must be on file before any official information is provided to your agent.
In most cases, receipt of an appeal is acknowledged in writing. The decision by DTA is sent by mail to the owner or their agent in writing.
Steps in the Appeal Process
- Discuss your assessment with DTA staff appraisers. DTA encourages property owners to utilize staff in understanding the assessment and to further document their appeal should they wish to continue. In addition, sales and detailed property information is available on our website.
- DTA appraisal staff contacts the property owner to schedule a field inspection of the property. Appraisers will thoroughly inspect and re-measure the property, if required. It is important to note that, while DTA maintains a physical description of all real property in the county and our data base is updated from field inspections, it is our policy to require staff to verify the field information when appeals are initiated.
- DTA appraisers consider the information obtained during the physical inspection, and then review the available market sales data to reappraise the property. The analysis and value determination is reviewed by a Supervising Appraiser, who may forward a recommendation to the Real Estate Division Assistant Director. The original assessed value may be either affirmed, increased, or decreased based upon the analysis.
- The property owner is advised of the determination by letter and given information regarding further right of appeal through the Board of Equalization.
For residential properties, we encourage you to use our online appeal application. You may also download the appeal form using the link below.
For commercial properties, you must submit a paper appeal application. The appeal form is available for viewing and printing in the PDF format. To view or print this file, you may need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. To request this form in an alternative format, contact the office at 703-222-8234 [TTY 711].
See the Tax Due Dates and Deadlines page, or the Application itself for the filing deadline.
Board of Equalization of Real Estate Assessments Appeals
Appeals may also be submitted directly to the Board of Equalization of Real Estate Assessments (BOE).
As an independent body appointed by the Board of Supervisors, the BOE has the duty and responsibility of determining whether the Department of Tax Administration (DTA) has equalized the assessments among property owners. The BOE has the power to increase, decrease, or keep the same assessment upon its review in a formal hearing.
The BOE filing deadline is June 1st. If the filing deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or County Holiday, the deadline is the following business day.
Damaged or Decaying Property
The assessed value of a building can be adjusted when the building is either wholly destroyed or reduced in value below $100 due to natural decay or other causes. The Code also allows for assessment adjustments if the value of the building has been impaired by violence to the extent of $100 or more. (Code of Virginia, § 58.1-3293)
Any such assessment adjustment that may be required will be prorated from the time of the incident until the property is repaired, or the end of the year, whichever is sooner.
To file such an appeal, please contact DTA:
- by e-mail
- by phone at 703-222-8234 [TTY 711]
- by mail to or visiting DTA at:
12000 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 357
Fairfax, VA 22035
Please include the following information with your appeal request:
- your contact information (name, address, e-mail and phone number)
- address of the impacted property or tax map number
- a description of the damage sustained
- for commercial properties, income & expense reports
- if available, the estimated cost to repair
Providing a copy of insurance estimates or other appraisals may assist in the assessment review. If applicable, please also estimate when the property or portion of the property is expected to again be habitable. Pictures are also helpful, but staff will also contact you to schedule a site inspection.