HB 786 (Keam) and HB 787 (Keam), which would have provided that a taxpayer appealing an assessment of real property would not be required to prove that the assessment is a result of manifest error or disregard of controlling evidence, were continued to 2019 in the Senate Finance Committee on February 14. VACo opposed these bills due to the major changes they would make to the long-standing judicial standard of manifest error, which reflects the presumption of correctness historically afforded to the assessor. By relying on this standard, courts have avoided picking and choosing among possible values within a range of reasonable valuations for property.
The bills’ patron indicated that he would pursue legislation on this topic in the future and encouraged local government representatives and proponents of the bill to work on the issue after the conclusion of the session. VACo is grateful to members who contacted Senate Finance Committee members to express opposition to the bills.