You Can Challenge Your Property Taxes

You Can Challenge Your Property Taxes

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Homeowners will often gripe about their taxes, but not too many people will actually do something about it. According property taxesto the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), more than 60% of all taxable property in the U.S. is over-assessed. This same group has discovered that only 2% of taxpayers will contest their property taxes.

Consumers are often shocked when they open their property tax bills to discover that sharply increasing home values has resulted in a bigger chunk of their money going toward paying property taxes. Rather than taking taxes at face value, the NTU and other consumer activists urge homeowners to fight the reassessment. But first, you must do your homework.

Steps To Reduce Your Property Taxes

There are several steps you must take before fighting City Hall:

How long before you must appeal? In most localities, you have a certain amount of time to appeal your tax bill before it your new rate takes effect. Starting the appeal process early will take the pressure off of what can be a long, drawn out process.

Build your case. In order to have a chance of winning a reduction, you’ll have to build a compelling case. Property tax errors can involve a number of factors including: the wrong square footage is listed for your home and/or property; comparable homes in the neighborhood are taxed for less; the number of bedrooms or baths the assessor says that you have is wrong; the location of your property is less favorable than homes of similar size (you are next to a water tower or on a busy street), etc.

Arrange a meeting. If after completing your research that you believe you have a winnable case, then arrange to meet with the assessor privately. Most cases can be settled without a hearing, but head to the hearing if the assessor will not meet with you or if he doesn’t reduce your taxes to a satisfactory level.

Get organized for a hearing. If you must attend a hearing, having supporting documentation including photographs, spreadsheets, and related files will strengthen your case. Consider the services of an attorney if you don’t have the time or expertise to challenge your taxes. Most will accept payment based on winning your case.

If you win your case, you could save hundreds of dollars annually in property taxes. However, if you lose your case don’t be disheartened — you may be able to file and win an appeal in subsequent years, so keep your research handy and update it as needed.

Further Reading

How to fight your ballooning property tax

Trim Your Property Taxes

Resources

Estimating The Home Value

Home Remodeling Services

National Taxpayers Union

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Categories: Property Taxes

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