Keeping an eye on property taxes - East Valley Tribune: Business

Keeping an eye on property taxes

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Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2007 6:32 am | Updated: 7:21 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Property taxes in Maricopa County are steadily climbing. They’re expected to rise between 15 percent and 30 percent by 2008, according to Deron M. Webb, 40, a tax expert whose company, Wentworth Webb & Postal LLC represents companies and owners of large tracts of land in the Valley and Arizona who are trying to get their property taxes lowered.

“Lowering property taxes ultimately lures more businesses to the Valley,” Webb said.

Webb, who is a co-founder and managing principal of his firm, has been appealing property tax valuations for companies for more than 10 years.

His firm began in a cramped, 1,000-square-foot office at 4602 E. Thomas Road in Phoenix with him and two other tax experts, James R. Wentworth and Daniel J. Postal, and a few clients.

Today, the company has a 4,700-square-foot office at 2701 E. Camelback Road in the Camelback Corridor, five tax analysts and since its founding has represented clients who own more than 1,200 properties in Maricopa County and Arizona.

Besides appealing county tax cases, Webb and his firm also provide tax and other economic information to outof-state companies looking at the Valley and/or statewide as a possible future site.

He has testified before the Arizona Legislature in favor of tax issues that, he said, ultimately would attract large corporations to the Grand Canyon State. “So far, there are only a few Fortune 500 corporations headquartered in the Valley,” Webb said. “We need to attract more.”

Webb, a native of La Mesa, Calif., earned a degree in business administration from the University of Arizona in 1989 and got his first job as an auditor for the Circle K Corp. Two years later, he joined the KPMG accounting firm as a state and local tax expert.

By 1996, Webb saw the need by property owners to appeal their rising tax valuations. The state uses a “blanket formula approach” to assess property for tax purposes, he said.

“The County Assessor’s Office takes a shotgun approach to valuating property,” Webb said. “County assessors can’t personally examine all the parcels, so they use two valuation figures — the Full Cash Value (FCV) and Limited Property Value (LPV).”

FCV represents the fair market value of a property. LPV is the value set by the county assessor, and must, according to state law, increase each year. However, it can never exceed the FCV.

Webb and his team take a “surgical” approach by examining specific issues with respect to the property. The closer look at the various figures provides the basis for an official appeal, Webb said.

Webb is president of the Arizona Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which represents 131 local companies with gross sales of more than $7.7 billion and is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, an association of developers, and owners of professional, industrial and mixed-use real estate.

He is active in several local charities, including A Stepping Stone Foundation that helps underprivileged, preschool children.

Webb spends his free time coaching his children’s Little League and soccer teams, playing golf and snow skiing.

Tax appeal facts

• Property owners in Maricopa County can expect to receive 2008 Tax Valuations by Feb. 2. They have 60 days to appeal the valuations.

• There are three levels of appeal. First is meeting with the county assessor’s representatives. Next, is filing an appeal with the State Board of Equalization. Third is appealing to the Arizona Tax Court.

• There are more than 1.4 million parcels of land in Maricopa County that are valuated for state and local tax purposes each year.

• Tax valuations are expected to increase between 15 percent and 30 percent by 2008, according to tax expert Deron M. Webb.

• Property taxes are due in two payments. The first half are due Oct. 1 and delinquent after Nov. 1. The second-half payments are due March 1 and delinquent after May 1.

Source: Wentworth Webb & Post, LLC

Deron M. Webb

Age: 40

Family: Wife, Heather; children, Davis, 8 and Tatum, 7

Resides in: Moon Valley

Occupation: One of the founders and managing principal of Wentworth Webb & Postal LLC, a company at 2701 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Suite 185, that appeals tax valuations for companies in Maricopa County and primarily Arizona. It also helps out-of-state firms select locations

Business: Once a company has received a “Notice of Valuation” from the County Assessor’s Office, the taxpayer has 60 days to file an appeal. Wentworth Webb & Postal LLC since 1996 has represented more than 1,200 clients during various stages of appeals. The firm works with business clients only, not individual homeowners.

Key achievements: Wentworth Webb & Postal LLC has steadily grown and plans to expand its services to other markets beyond property tax appeals.

Philosophy for success: “We inspire our people. We treat our clients’ issues like they’re our own. We’re active in our community. We like to have fun.”

Information: (602) 288-2160 or www.wwptax.com

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