Property Tax Appeals: When, How, and Why to Submit?

Dec 20, 2023 By Susan Kelly

When the tax season comes, you have to file your taxes while looking at what different tax brackets you need to fulfill. The compartmentalization of each tax category also includes property taxes, which can be more than your valuation.

Now, if the assessment was incorrect, you can appeal through the property tax appeals process, which is quite simple. All you need to do is start by notifying the authorities by sending them a property tax protest letter.

In this article, we will share the most common reasons behind wrong assessments and why and how you should apply for the appeal.

The Reasons Behind Real Estate Tax Appeal

Whenever you receive an unfair assessment, you can pay an excessive amount if you think it will take too much time and effort to appeal. You still have the option to appeal the assessment, which allows you to lower the tax amount.

Though it might take some time and effort to appeal, it isn’t that much complicated. But you should understand what the root cause behind the unfair judgment can be. Let's go over a few simple reasons.

Valuation is Due to Property You Don’t Own Any Longer

You might either have sold off the property or asset or moved the asset to another location, which dictates a new valuation for the new location. If you replaced the asset, that also requires a new valuation. Just make sure that the assessor didn’t include old assets in the tax valuation.

You are Valuated Against Something That Doesn’t Belong to You

Leasing an asset or a piece of equipment can fall into this category. In these cases, the entity you leased the asset from is the one that should pay the taxes, not you. In other cases, they are still charging you for selling off an asset, and the information isn’t updated in the system. Simply sharing the sale deed can ease your case.

Error Due to Double Assessment

This most commonly happens due to some clerical mistake, such as sending the valuation under your name and also under your address. This valuation can make the overall assessment costly. Don’t forget to mention this with proper proof in your property tax appeals.

Underappreciation of Asset

When you are declaring your assets, make sure you have categorized each asset correctly. Sometimes, miscategorization can lead to lower depreciation evaluations. Some assets depreciate much more quickly than others and might cause an increase in the valuation amount.

Research the actual category and declare your assets properly when filing your property tax appeals.

Inaccurate Asset Information

You might have calculated the covered area or the acreage incorrectly in your property declaration. The assessment authority is wrongly evaluating in this case. Make sure you mention correctly what features your home has, the year it was constructed, etc.

The Best Way to Make Property Tax Appeals

Let’s go over the basic steps to make a successful property tax protest.

Assess Comparable Properties Around You

This step of the real estate tax appeal requires a bit of research and documentation. You can take the services of a registered appraiser to make a fair assessment, but it will cost you a few hundred dollars or more.

Make sure you research what properties go for in your area, and communicate with a real estate agent for the best knowledge. You can even talk with your neighbors about the assessment amount for their property. Some local authorities can also provide you with relevant information to make an assessment.

There are two scenarios from which you can benefit when making your property tax appeals.

  • Your property was valued higher than similar properties.
  • The condition of your property wasn't as nice as other properties, so you should be charged a lower value and tax.

Contact the Assessor at Their Office

This method is one of the most straightforward processes to understand what procedure the assessor followed. Most of the time, they are available and happy to be of service. While some may tell you to hire a lawyer for property tax appeals, it is entirely unnecessary if the assessor is helping you out.

All it requires is to reach out and be patient in following the process.

Making an Appeal to the Independent Board in Your Locality

Once you have all the information, the following are the steps to make the property tax appeals application.

  • Making a formal application by paying the processing and filing fee. It is typically not more than $50.
  • Collect the necessary documents and fill out the necessary forms. Make sure you have attached the necessary documents and proof of why you are appealing.
  • Wait for the local board or authority to review your application.
  • Make sure you have filed within 45 days of getting the valuation.
  • Pay the tax bill that you receive before you appeal so you don’t have to pay the fine. If they approve your appeal, the deduction will show in the next bill.

The Property Tax Appeals Application Decision

We have mentioned above quite clearly that the valuation may have been a clerical error. The authority will charge the same amount of tax to similar properties in your area, so they aren’t wrong in that account.

If the valuation was correct, as others were charged the same amount, you could look into other tax exemptions that can support you.

Finally, it is better to hire a professional assessor because inexperienced agents may make mistakes. Though it is improbable, sometimes your valuation may increase the cost of the tax if the assessor undervalues your property.

In this case, it is recommended that you withdraw your appeal before providing the proof.

Final Thoughts

You are able to save money if you have done good research and applied correctly. In any case, you still have to pay the amount first, and it is recommended. In the end, the government will support the community with your taxes, so not everything is lost.

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