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What is a Property Tax Assessment Appeal?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2017
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A property tax assessment appeal is a formal dispute by a property owner over the value of a certain parcel of property. Usually the assessment is an important factor in the formulation of property taxes, which are often set by the value of the real estate in question. Therefore, those undertaking a property tax assessment appeal are generally trying to lower their tax burden for a property. These appeals can be executed in several steps, depending on how quickly a satisfactory resolution is reached.

Once an owner has decided to undertake a property tax assessment appeal, the first step is generally to file a notice of, or request for, appeal with the assessor's office in the local jurisdiction, such as a city or county. The assessor's office may then make an administrative review, or schedule the appeal for a hearing before a review board. The property owner's burden in this case is to prove that the assessment was somehow in error, and that the property is overvalued.

During the property tax assessment appeal hearing, the property owner is generally given so much time to make a case. Once that initial case has been completed, the assessor may provide reasons justifying the current assessment. A review board will likely ask both sides questions about the property to determine if the assessor reached the most appropriate decision.

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One of the most common strategies a property owner may undertake during a property tax assessment appeal is to get a second opinion from a private appraiser. This individual, while not specifically looking at the home from a tax standpoint, should give a basic value that shows what the property should be worth, given current market conditions and other factors. This person should be licensed by the jurisdiction in which the property is situated.

Another strategy during a property tax assessment appeal is for the property owner to do some research, and present a list of comparable properties during the appeal hearing. These properties should closely resemble the disputed property in age, types of improvements, and extent of improvements. For example, if the property in dispute is a 20-year-old, three bedroom home on a quarter-acre lot, homes used in the comparison should be similar homes in the same area. The owner does this by analyzing recent sales data and other assessments.

If the owner is not pleased with the decision coming out of an administrative review or appeal board, there are other steps he or she can take. Generally, that next step may involve going before a city council, or perhaps into a court of law. While the burden of proof remains the same, some entities may require more information, such as further comparisons or more detailed property history, when continuing an appeal to the next level.

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bagley79
Post 4

This is an interesting discussion on property taxes. I am always looking for ways to save money and also wondered how to appeal your property tax assessment.

My neighbor recently called me and told me about something they were trying to pass in our school community. It sounded like it would be a helpful program, but then when you found out how much your property taxes would increase it didn't look so good!

She just happened to read two editorials about it in our local paper, otherwise we would have never even known about it. Every dollar you can save on your property taxes, means money you can actually put back into your home.

LisaLou
Post 3

I have always wondered about the process of how to appeal property taxes. In this current market situation it seems crazy that your property taxes increase, yet the value of your house is way less than it was a few years ago. I see it as a way they are just trying to get some more money coming in, and they figure most people won't fight it.

This is something that is definitely worth looking in to. If more people took the time to appeal, maybe they would not keep raising them.

honeybees
Post 2

@Mykol - I understand the overwhelming feeling of trying to figure out all the property tax rates. I have also protested my property taxes, but spent a little extra money to hire someone to represent me.

In our community we have a group of real estate agents who will help you gather all the current information, submit your appeal and even physically represent you in front of the board. I was able to go with him to see how the whole process worked, and my taxes were lowered because of these efforts.

For me, it was well worth paying someone who knew the system to do all the leg work and represent me. I would use them again if I get another tax increase in the future - and I am sure that will probably happen!

Mykol
Post 1

I have filed to appeal my property taxes twice in the last few years. It is so frustrating when the assessed value of your house goes down, but your property taxes increase.

In our state we only have a 2-3 week period where you can file an appeal with the county. I think it is something that many people feel intimidated by, so just go ahead and pay it without thinking they can get it lowered.

It does take a little bit of research to understand the numbers, but it is a pretty simple process.

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