As a homeowner, you understand the importance of paying your property taxes, but what if you believe that your home’s tax assessment is too high? Can you appeal the assessed value of your property, or are you stuck with a higher bill?
Yes, you can and should appeal your property tax assessment if you believe the value is too high.
How to Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment
The rules for appeal will vary from one jurisdiction to another, but in most cases, the process begins with you submitting paperwork to your local tax assessor’s office. This paperwork will give you the opportunity to state what you believe to be the real value of your home.
Here’s how the appeals process works:
Read Your Assessment Letter
Real estate taxes are assessed periodically by local governments. When this occurs, an assessment letter is sent to the property owner in the mail.
The assessment letter includes information about your property, including:
- Lot size
- Legal description
- Assessed value of the home and land
In most cases, property taxes are calculated by multiplying the home’s assessed value by the local tax rate.
The Law Offices of Gary H. Smith, P.C. explains some of the things to check in the tax record of your property:
- The purchase price
- The square footage
- The age of the property
- Defects that may not be listed
- Tax benefits, such as income, disability, age or military service discounts
If any of the above information (or any other information) on the tax record is inaccurate, the assessment should be appealed so that the record may be corrected and the value adjusted.
Typically, homeowners have 30 days to appeal an assessment, but your local taxing authority may have set its own timeline.
The procedures for appealing the assessment are usually listed on the back of the letter.
You may believe that your property is overvalued, but do you have the data to back up your claim? As you go through the appeals process, you may find that the assessed value wasn’t so far-fetched.
Get in touch with a real estate agent to get three to five comparable properties that have sold recently. You can also check online real estate websites, like realtor.com, to find the approximate values of comparable properties in your area. Be sure to consider the size, style, location and condition of the property.
If you have the budget, you can hire an appraiser to get a professional opinion of your home’s value.
Request a Formal Review
If you’re serious about moving forward with your appeal, you’ll need to request a formal review. There are deadlines you’ll need to meet and procedures you’ll need to follow. You’ll likely need to fill out forms and provide supporting evidence of your claim.
Reviews can take a few months to complete, and you should receive a decision in writing.
Appeal the Review
If you’re unhappy with the results of the review, you can appeal the decision to an independent board. You may have to pay a filing fee.
It can take up to a year to get through the appeals process, especially if you’re located in a large jurisdiction that receives a high number of appeals.