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Hundreds appealing property tax charges

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Earlier this week, the second installment for real property taxes were due. And while over $14 million has already been collected, there are hundreds of other property owners who are appealing the changes in property taxes following an islandwide revaluation. Department of Revenue & Taxation director John Camacho said, "This real property for Tax Year 2014 is very different because this year we actually did a revaluation and we sent out the notices basically we had to work with the legislature to extend the due date for the first installment and second installment."

Camacho says after nearly two decades, the department had finally completed its efforts to update Guam's property values. A few months ago, tens of thousands of real property tax statements were sent in the mail informing property owners of the new values - most of which reflected changes. Hundreds of people however are contesting the new property values. "So being it's a revaluation year we also anticipated we would be getting a lot of appeals from the property owners in which we roughly have 700 to 800 appeals to the board of equalization," he said.

Camacho says the appeals represent both residential and commercial property owners, with some appeals filed in groups. The board of equalization held an informal meeting with Rev & Tax this past week to address the appeals along with Cornerstone Valuation Guam, who was hired to conduct the revaluation. "It hasn't been done for 20 years and some of these appeals coming in are basically questioning the methodology and also the increase, why the increase," he said.

Camacho says the goal is to resolve the appeals before the end of the summer as Rev & Tax will begin issuing a preliminary notice for the property tax for 2015. "Basically we need to get that out one of the reasons why we want to address all these appeals in a timely fashion to try to actually resolve them so then in September, once we resolve these disputed values, we would try to get a clear value going out on September 1, so that's our goal," he said.

And while the second installment for real property taxes was due on May 20, Camacho still encourages those who haven't made payment to still do so as there are penalties and redemption interest that will be applied. Otherwise, they will be included in a real property tax delinquent list set to be published on June 8.

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