Preparing for Your PAAB Hearing
This information is intended to help you prepare for your hearing before PAAB. This is not a legal or technical document and is issued for general informational purposes only. For detailed legal or technical information you should contact an attorney.
Your Hearing Date
You will receive a Notice of Hearing at least 30 days prior to the scheduled hearing date.
IMPORTANT: Any party participating in electronic filing will receive an email notification that the Notice of Hearing was filed. To view and download the Notice, you will need to log-in to the eFiling system and access the appeal documents. Failure to access and download the Notice of Hearing may be detrimental to your appeal. If you have questions about an email notification or difficulty accessing a document, contact PAAB at email@example.com or by phone at 515-725-0338. PAAB will send the Notice by mail to any party not participating in electronic filing. PAAB also posts all hearings on its Hearing Calendar.
Continuances: If you, or your representative/attorney is unavailable on that date, you may request a continuance by filling out the form found here.
Withdrawals: After being notified of your hearing, if you decide you no longer want to proceed with your PAAB appeal, you may withdraw it using the form available here.
Settlements: After being notified of your hearing, if you and the opposing party reach an agreement concerning the assessment (a settlement), you may fill out the settlement agreement form here.
In Person: If you requested to participate in the hearing in person, you should arrive at PAAB's office at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled hearing time. PAAB's office is located at the Hoover State Office Building, 1305 E. Walnut, Des Moines, Iowa. Click here for information about capitol complex parking. Upon arrival, check-in at the Taxpayer Service's desk on the 4th Floor.
Telephone: If you requested to participate in the hearing by telephone, you must call 1-866-685-1580 at your scheduled hearing time. When prompted, enter 0009990988#; you will then be connected to the conference call. PAAB will not call you.
NOTICE: Your appeal will be dismissed if you fail to appear at the time and place noted above, or if you fail to notify PAAB of your absence in advance of the hearing.
If you want to modify how you intend to participate in your hearing, complete the request form and file it with PAAB.
You may be self-presented in a PAAB appeal or choose to have a representative or attorney appear on your behalf. An attorney shall file an appearance. If the person you want to represent you is not an attorney you must file a Power of Attorney form available here.
Exhibits and Witnesses
To prepare for your hearing you will need to gather and assemble admissible evidence to support your position. Any evidence you present must be relevant and reliable and support the grounds that you have appealed. PAAB’s determination of the value of your property is based solely upon the evidence presented at your hearing and in the record. PAAB does not independently investigate your claims or seek out evidence related to your appeal on its own. The testimony or evidence you present to PAAB should indicate the value of your property on January 1 of the assessment year at issue.
- Exhibits are documents (evidence) you plan to introduce at the hearing to support your position. Witnesses are individuals who provide testimony at the hearing.
- Copies of all exhibits and a list of witnesses must be provided to the other party or parties as provided in the Notice of Hearing, unless the parties have entered a Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan.
- Failure to send the exhibits and witness list to the other parties may result in the exhibits and/or witnesses being excluded.
- Exhibit and Witness Lists, as well as instructions, are available here.
- Taxpayers should label exhibits with numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.). The board of review should label exhibits with letters (A, B, C, etc. ).
- PAAB will not make copies of documents for you on the day of the hearing. You must make any necessary copies prior to arriving at PAAB's office.
NOTE: If a taxpayer would like PAAB to consider any documents/evidence previously provided to the Board of Review, the taxpayer must file it as an exhibit to PAAB. The Board of Review is not required to send any documents/evidence to PAAB that the taxpayer may have submitted with the Board of Review protest.
The following examples of evidence may assist PAAB in determining the value of your property if it is relevant to the grounds that you have appealed:
- Description of the property, maps and/or photographs.
- The Assessor's property record card and/or cost report for your property and any comparable properties. Contact your Assessor's Office if you have questions about obtaining the property record cards and cost reports.
- Recent appraisal of the property or in-person testimony of an appraiser before PAAB. An appraisal is most accurate if it reflects the January 1 assessment date of the year of the protest.
- Recent sales of comparable properties.
- Rental income or lease contracts.
- Recent purchase price or bill of sale.
- Affidavit of value or sale.
- Written offers or listing for sale.
- Witnesses that testify to the value of the property. Examples may include realtors, appraisers, or others with knowledge of the property.
Note: The above is not a comprehensive list and the relevant evidence may vary from case-to-case.
General Nature of Hearing
PAAB Hearings are administrative proceedings and contested cases. They follow administrative rules of procedure and presentation of evidence. The formal rules of evidence that apply in court do not apply in a PAAB hearing. Hearings before the board are open to the public. Testimony presented to PAAB is given under oath and is recorded.
At the hearing, the party who filed the appeal, called the appellant, presents its case first. The appellant may begin with an opening statement. An opening statement may include a general description of the property and a brief statement of the reason(s) they believe the assessment is incorrect. The opposing party, called the appellee, may then present its opening statement. In most cases before PAAB, the appellee is the Board of Review.
After opening statements, the appellant may then present its case by offering testimony, the testimony of witnesses, and other evidence that supports its position. The appellee has the opportunity to question or cross-examine the appellant and/or its witnesses concerning their testimony and evidence.
After the appellant has presented its testimony and evidence, the appellee may then present testimony and evidence in support of its position. The appellant will also have the opportunity to question any of the appellee's witnesses concerning their testimony and evidence. PAAB members also may ask questions of the parties or their witnesses.
Finally, the appellant, and then the appellee, will have the opportunity to give closing statements.
Burden of Proof
Generally, the party appealing the assessment bears the burden of proving the grounds for the appeal by a preponderance of the evidence. If the appealing party "offers competent evidence that the market value of the property is different than the market value determined by the assessor," then the burden of proof shifts to those seeking to uphold the assessment. Iowa Code § 441.21(3)(b)(2).
Objections to Evidence
If you believe evidence offered or a question asked by another party is inadmissible or otherwise objectionable, you have the right to object to it. Objections in contested cases include irrelevance, immateriality, or unduly repetitious. You should state your objection to a document or other tangible evidence at the time it is offered for admission, usually at the beginning of the hearing. You should state your specific objection to a question immediately after it is asked. Generally, in administrative proceedings objections to the evidence are normally noted in the record. Typically, objections are noted in the record and may be sustained (granted) or overruled (denied).
PAAB's Order and Final Agency Action
This hearing will likely be the only hearing held before PAAB in your appeal. To ensure the record is complete with all of the relevant information, you may ask that the record be kept open if you determine you have an exhibit that should have been provided at the hearing. If you wish to submit a late exhibit, PAAB will set a deadline for the submission of that exhibit and exchange of it with the opposing party. PAAB will also set a deadline for allowing the opposing party to respond to your exhibit.
You will receive a decision from PAAB regarding your appeal. If you are dissatisfied with your decision, you may appeal the decision to the district court. Information for how to appeal may be found here.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Each appeal filed is for the single year’s property assessment. Filing an appeal for one year does not allow PAAB to consider the years before that appeal.
- All information relating to your appeal, the appeal record, and the appeal hearing are subject to open meetings and public records law.
You may wish to review Iowa law relating to assessment appeals available here.