Do you know what time it is? Tax time. By now, you will have received a Notice of Property Tax Assessment. This notice starts the period in which tax appeals must be filed. The deadline for filing is April 1, or 45 days from the date the notice was mailed, whichever is later.
Just about everyone complains about high property taxes, but the only way to lower your assessment is to file an appeal. The appeal process is relatively straightforward; and, not infrequently, filing an appeal will prompt the local tax assessor to negotiate a lower assessment.
To file an appeal, you will need to gather information to support the requested reduction in your assessment. That means collecting information about sales of properties comparable to your own that closed between January and October of the year just ended, in this case, 2011. You can do this yourself, but your chances of success will be enhanced if your enlist the services of a qualified professional: a licensed real estate appraiser, or a land use planner, who can identify facts and circumstances to support a reduced assessment, and an attorney who can organize and guide you through the appeal process.
Comparable sales are the starting point. How that information is organized and presented can have a significant impact on the size of a downward adjustment.
The decline in home prices over the last few years has created the opportunity for significant downward adjustments in real property assessments. The US economy is recovering, albeit more slowly than we would like. Home prices generally lag gains in income and employment, so there is still ample opportunity to turn declining property values to your tax advantage.
If you would like to discuss filing a property tax appeal, please give me a call.
As ever, I welcome your comments and feedback.