Board of Equalization


The Board of Equalization is an independent body organized to hear appeals of various determinations made by the Assessor. The Board's goal is to provide an impartial hearing environment that protects each party's due process rights and results in a fair, impartial decision.

Meetings of the BOE

The Board of Equalization meetings are to be announced. 


The Board's jurisdiction involves appeals of Assessor determinations within Columbia County including:

  • Change in real and personal property values (RCW 84.48.010) - There is no provision in Washington State law to directly appeal the amount of your property taxes.
  • Denials of senior citizen/disabled persons exemptions (RCW 84.36.385)
  • Denials of home improvement exemptions (RCW 84.36.400)
  • Decisions regarding historic property (RCW 84.26.130)
  • Forestland classification determinations (RCW 84.33)
  • Current use determinations (RCW 84.34)
  • Destroyed property determinations (RCW 84.70.010)
  • Claims for either real or personal property tax exemptions (RCW 84.36.010)


Generally speaking, for real property appeals, the issue before the Board is the market value of your property consistent with Washington State’s 100% market value standard. Accordingly, you will need to furnish evidence that demonstrates that the Assessor’s valuation exceeds your property’s fair market value. Successful forms of evidence include:

  • Comparable sales and/or sales of the subject property
  • Contractor estimates of costs to repair building or land defects
  • Letters or documents from government agencies and/or experts regarding development limitations
  • Deeds describing easements that impact value
  • Independent appraisals
  • Photographs of features or conditions that you believe diminish your property’s market value
  • Maps showing proximity to high traffic areas, access limitations, etc.

When gathering evidence and formulating arguments, it is important to keep in mind that, by law, the Assessor is presumed to be correct. The burden of proof is on you to show that the Assessor’s determination is incorrect. Convincing evidence is the key.

Comparable Sales

Sales of the subject property and/or comparable properties are the foundation of our State’s market value standard. Accordingly, comparable sales typically provide the best indicators of market value (RCW 84.40.030). This is particularly true for residential properties. The best comparables are sales located in your neighborhood, with similar land and improvement features, which sold closest to the valuation date at issue. Assistance in finding comparable sales is available on the Assessor’s website and their Office, 509-382-2131. Realtors and title companies may also be resources for comparable sales.

Comparing Comparable Sales

Comparable properties do not have to exactly match your property. Look for sales that are most similar, note their differences, and identify superior and inferior property features. This comparison process should enable you to determine whether your property would sell for more than or less than the price paid for each selected sale, leading you to a market value estimate.

Market Timing

According to State law, the Assessor must base assessed valuations as of January 1st of each assessment year. For example, if you are appealing a 2022 assessment year valuation, for taxes payable in 2023, the valuation date at issue is January 1, 2022. From a market timing standpoint, the Board gives comparable sales occurring closest to this date most weight.

Board Members

The Board of Equalization (BOE) is comprised of three (3) citizen members appointed by the Columbia County Board of County Commissioners. When hearing appeals, it must be a quorum of the Board (2 of 3 members must be present) to make a final ruling.  BOE members are trained by and in accordance with the Washington State Department of Revenue and their standards. The Board is comprised of:

NamePositionTerm Exp.
Stacy KlingensteinClerk of the Board
Judy Pilcher
Alan Harris
John Laib

Hearing Information:

  • Typically, the Board tries to hold all meetings and hearings on Thursdays when possible. 
  • Most typical, residential hearings are scheduled for 30-minutes. 10-minutes for the Petitioner, 10-minutes for the Assessor, and 10-minutes for discussion.
  • The Board is open to hearing all pertinent information that you wish to provide, however, the hearing is not a negotiation table between the petitioner and the appraiser. Please present your information to the Board. 
  • Agreements are not available once the hearing commences - the Board must provide a legal ruling.
  • Due to the time requirements for notification, the Board requires that all requests for rescheduling of hearings be completed at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing. Hearings are scheduled months in advance to ensure all parties have ample time to prepare. Requests for rescheduling are considered on a case-by-case basis and are for emergent situations - not convenience. Emergency situations due arise and will be addressed on an individual basis.