Protesting the Amount of Taxes on Your Property

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This is the time of year when homeowners across America are receiving notices from their County Tax Assessor’s office informing them of their home’s value on which they will be taxed.  Sounds simple enough – until and unless you find that the value they are using seems too high.  Of course, higher assessed value translates to more out of pocket property taxes so the last thing you want to be doing is paying more when you do not need to.

How To Determine Whether You Are Overpaying Property Taxes

There are two ways to find out whether your property taxes are higher than they should be. First, you can go the traditional route, which is to investigate sale prices of homes in the area that are similar to yours.  The sales you are looking for should be completed in the 2011 calendar year (since property values are assessed based on the previous year’s sales).

You can also contact your Realtor to get an idea of whether you should pursue a property tax appeal.  For a quick view and an instant reply you can visit this website, input your address and the site will come back instantly with a reply.  If there are unusual circumstances to the property (for instance if it was sold recently) then you may be asked for your email address to get a reply later.

The Tax Appeal Process

Depending on which county you reside in, the process will vary slightly but for the most part it is a matter of presenting supporting documentation to a board of review, demonstrating your values have gone down.  With the supporting data you can then request that your taxable value be reassessed prior to the next property tax payment due date.

Some counties provide only one window of opportunity for homeowners to appeal their property tax values while others offer two times during the year.  To confirm the policy in your area visit your county treasurer’s office or website for more information.  Similarly, the process of appealing your taxes will also vary from county to county.  There are companies and also attorneys that can assist you through the process but an important part of the process is to gather data supporting your claim for lower tax values.

Comparing Area Values

While you can investigate the sale prices of recently sold properties in your area a challenge might arise when it comes to finding near identical properties to yours or at least very similar ones.  In terms of amenities, square footage, style and structure – homes used to compare values must be like kind in order to be usable data. The best way to manage this aspect of your tax appeal process is to engage your Realtor and utilize their resources in finding good comparables.  No one knows the area and its homes better than your Realtor.  They will compile a list of several properties that have sold for less than your home’s current assessed value and through that documentation be able to prove the need to reduce your taxes.

Other Ways to Save on Property Taxes

Aside from lowering your tax dues on the home you may also be eligible for certain exemptions depending on your situation. Contact your local county tax assessor’s office to learn of the exemptions offered in your state. Some examples include exemptions for military personnel and veterans, owners of farm property or daycare facilities and non-profit student housing. 

To find out if savings amounting to hundreds of dollars seems possible for you, find out now and beat the deadline!