According to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, between 30 percent and 60 percent of taxable property has an inflated assessment, which may lead to higher property tax bills. Moreover, typically fewer than 5 percent of taxpayers dispute their assessment. For homeowners who think their local government may have assessed their property’s value too high, there are ways to appeal and potentially win a lower assessment, which may save hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually in future taxes. The procedures and requirements for challenging the assessed value of your property will differ by state, but you should consider a number of general factors.
Important to understand that the information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.
Determine Whether an Appeal Is Justified
Your opinion of the fairness and accuracy of your property assessment is not enough. You will need to gather facts to support your claim. One way to do that is to see how your home compares to similar homes in your neighborhood. Check to see if there are any obvious errors (e.g., is the square footage incorrect?). If you have found an outright error, you may be able to simply bring it to the assessor’s attention and get it corrected.
Appealing your assessment may cost you money, depending on the complexity of the process and whether you choose to use professional resources. You are the ultimate judge of weighing the costs related to some uncertain financial reward, but know the cost-benefit before you start. For instance, you may not want to spend $1,000 to save $200 per year.
Use an Independent Appraiser
Your appeal will have less credence if the market evaluation is made by a local real estate agent. A comparative appraisal will carry considerably more weight when it is performed by a credible, third-party expert. Appeals have precise deadlines and procedures. You need to meet them; otherwise you run the risk of losing out on the opportunity to have your appeal heard for another year. Call your local officials or visit the relevant website to familiarize yourself with the appeal process requirements.