How To Make A Property Tax Appeal
By one estimate, more than half of property tax assessments are too high, which is why smart property owners should understand how to make a property tax appeal.
Even if the real number is less than half, there is a good chance that you are paying too much in property taxes. With a little effort (and not very much at that) you could receive a fat property tax refund this year, and every year that you continue to own your property.
Sound good? Then you should at least know whether or not a property tax appeal makes sense for you.
One interesting statistic about property tax reductions appeals in the United States suggest that only about 2% to 4% of property owners on average ever attempt to undertake a fair property tax appeal. Yet of those who do, a whopping 40% to 60% (depending on the locality) receive at least some amount of property tax reduction.
Many property owners decide not to pursue a property tax reduction out of fear of retaliation from the municipal property taxing authority. This fear is almost always baseless, as by law your property tax must be based on the assessed value of your property, and nothing else.
But having said that, you also need to make sure you have a reasonably good case to begin with before proceeding with a property tax appeal. Armed with this information the appeals process itself is easier to undertake than many people might imagine, and boils down to the following steps.
- First, try to come up with a fair market value estimate of your property. You can usually determine this fairly closely by looking at sales of comparable properties, asking a local realtor, or in cases where you really feel you are being unfairly taxed paying for a professional appraisal of your property. If you are in fact being taxed too highly, proceed to step 2.
- Determine the tax appeal process and calendar and be sure to follow directions. This is critical, as your property tax appeal can be denied for missing a due date or failing to submit all required information.
- Submit your appeal to the property tax assessor or appeals board and wait a decision.
- Once the decision is rendered you can either accept it as is or take it to a higher level of appeal.
Again, property owners who take the time to undertake a property tax appeal stand a high chance of being successful. In addition to a possibly hefty refund, they often come away feeling better that a fair assessment has been rendered.
If your appeal fails and you are having trouble finding a way to pay your property taxes, then look into some local program for help – most states have assistance programs. Texas residents, for example, can get Texas property tax loans and relief from several companies. Keep in mind these are not long term solutions and the money will need to be paid back.