When the economy and therefore the real estate market are depressed, that is the time to consider appealing your property taxes. The savings could be substantial and you won’t know unless you investigate what your home is really worth. The non-profit advocacy group, the National Taxpayers Union, states that anywhere between 30 to 60 percent of all homes are overassessed and that one third of all tax challenges have resulted in some property tax reduction. Let’s look at some ways you can appeal your property tax assessment and save some money:
Cut Your Property Taxes Yourself
There are plenty of professional agencies that will handle a property tax appeal for you. However, that could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Mounting a property tax appeal yourself can be done with a minimal cost and effort.
Start the Appeal by Disputing Your Property Taxes
To begin the appeal and cut your property taxes, you need to dispute your home’s assessed value. Start by providing your local tax authority with information such as how their assessment is not in line with comparable homes in your area. Your local tax assessment office may look at appraisals, recent home sales or the cost of rebuilding your home.
Make Sure You Are Paying the Right Property Tax
Ask your local property tax office for your ‘property card’ that has your home’s square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and other basic features of your home. Verify that the card is correct and if there are errors, have them fix the card. Small changes in square footage or basic features in your home could change your property tax values.
Get the Right Appraisal to Save on Your Property Tax
Your local property tax office may have the correct information on your ‘property card’ however; the market rate of your home may be incorrect. There are a couple of ways to check this. First, you can ask your property tax assessment office to provide you with ‘property cards’ of comparable properties in your area. Another way is to ask a local real estate agent or appraiser for a list of recently sold homes in your area to compare market prices.
Tips on How to Appeal Your Property Tax
– Pay attention to deadlines on appealing your property tax. Many deadlines are as short as a few weeks. Check with your local property tax office.
– Watch what works and doesn’t work by others who are appealing. Many of these property tax sessions are open to the public.
– Make sure to ‘overkill’ your proof in your appeal. If you are appealing with comps, bring more than five to prove your case.
– Even if you believe it is the wrong amount, pay your tax bill while you appeal. If you win your appeal, you will receive either a credit or a refund.