Property Tax Appeal 101

Assessed value does not equal market value. If other homes like yours are selling right now for less than your assessment, it's likely you're paying too much in property taxes. Your taxes are based on assessed value - not real value.

Determine the formula to beat, depending on the county: e.g. divide the assessed value by the sales ratio that the county assigned for your area and you’ll have the number. This number is the supposed market value. Your goal is to beat that number! People are doing it every day, armed with a professional appraisal by a Certified Residential Appraiser (CRA).

Why Get a Tax Appeal Appraisal?

We all want to trust our tax assessor to do the right thing. And tax assessors are generally good people. But tax assessors are politically appointed, understaffed, and overly worked to cover their territory and determine property values thoughout a large area. Ever seen a tax assessor actually come to your home? Probably not. Their job is to protect the aggregate tax base, and they are not motivated to cut you a break. The assessor's office maintains and stores data on assessed parcels; but may not study inequity in values only to create more work by rocking the boat. It's up to you to determine if you're being overtaxed - the government won't do it. Bottom line is to assume you are overcharged, get an appraisal to document it if you are, and file an appeal for a tax re-assessment.

Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment

Before beginning, plan ahead to spend anywhere from 5-20 hours on your appeal. The good news is that the process is streamlined, so you usually won’t need an attorney.

7 Ways to Fight Excessive Property Taxes:

1. Learn how taxes are assessed by calling your assessor’s office (our site provides contact info) and ask how values are calculated. Depending on location, tax liability is based on a percentage of the property’s estimated value. You need to know the percentage to determine the assessed value so you can determine if the value assessed is fair.

2. Visit the tax office, ask to see the evidence used to value your home; get your home’s property card. This card lists lot size, square footage, and number of bathrooms.

3. While looking in the file, locate the worksheet the appraiser completed during inspection with addresses of homes used for comparison.

4. You have 60 days or less to files your appeal. You must build a case: If the issue isn’t an error on the property card, get an appraisal that focuses on comparable sales or assessments of homes. The fee for this is quite reasonable.

5. Informally meet the assessor, if your county permits. Review the appraisal results.

6. File the appeal with the county board, hand deliver for a receipt or mail it via certified mail.

7. If you lose, appeal the decision. Often, that's all it takes - another set of eyes on the issue - to get a win.

Start Appeal Now

Getting the ball rolling is the biggest and smallest thing you'll have to do. See if you qualify for lower property taxes. We're standing by to help.

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