Aebrown, when you apply for a permit that is when the flags go up that you are making improvements on your home. This is the only way that the assessor knows what you are doing. You do not need a permit to rebuild an existing deck if you are not replacing structural supports and just redoing some top boards. Check with the building department at the city. The tax assessor by law comes to your home to physically and visually inspect the house every 6-7 years. You never have to let them in but hey might walk around the house. They can presume what looks like has been redone from the last time or from previous pictures to make any adjustments but if it was not noticeable from the exterior it might get by. But when you are doing electrical, insulation, sheetrock you will probably have a very slight increase in value and maybe very little. The new assessment comes out as of July 1, 2010 so if you are doing it now it will not show up until next Oct 2011 on your tax statement if it shows up at all. Good luck to you.
Tom Inglesby, Broker
RE/MAX Equity Group inc