How to Appeal a Property Tax Assessment
The amount due on a property tax bill is obviously the main thing that catches a homeowner’s eye—but there are other parts of the bill that should be checked for errors and confirmed as updated.
Here are some ways to review your property tax bill and how to appeal it:
Check the Numbers
Look at the rate of taxation and assessed value of your home. Are they correct?
Assessments are generally tied to fair market value. A home’s attributes, such as square footage, number of rooms and type of property, are put into an automated valuation formula. Ask your assessor’s office for a detailed checklist and make sure it’s correct.
The value of a home assessment is usually done in two ways: based on recent sales, and based on replacement value as determined by an insurance company.
When to Ask for a Reassessment
If your home assessment is based on similar properties, then check on sales of homes in your area. If the assessor puts the value higher than at least three to five comparable homes, then you may want to appeal.
Property tax assessments are updated only every few years in some places. If property values have dropped significantly in your area since the last assessment and your property taxes haven’t changed, you can request a reassessment.
How to Appeal
Filing deadlines and procedures for an appeal should be included in your property tax bill. If not, look on the assessor’s website.
Submit your documentation, such as a list of comparable properties, in a letter or online for the review board to look at.
If you need help, hire a tax or real estate expert who specializes in tax assessment. If you win the appeal, the lower tax assessment should apply for a few years and make the fee worthwhile.
When filing an appeal, you’re still required to pay your property taxes on time and in full during the process. If you win, you’ll get a refund. There’s also the possibility that if it’s found that comparable home prices are higher, you could see an increase in your property taxes.
If you lose your appeal, you can appeal it to a state board or court, though those may require paying extra fees. At the very least, you can appeal your property tax bill next year when it arrives in the mail.
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