Challenging a Property Tax Assessment

Posted on Monday, August 20, 2018

One of the more significant expenses associated with home ownership is property taxes. Yet most homeowners pay their tax bill without checking whether the assessment is accurate. Consider these steps to verify your property tax assessment:

Understand how your assessment is calculated. Many homeowners look at their assessment, see it is less than the home's market value, and leave it at that. However, most assessments are based on a percentage of full market value. Just because your assessment is less than the home's market value doesn't mean it is correct. If it's not clearly stated on the assessment notice, find out how the assessment is calculated from the assessor.
Verify your home's information on file at the assessor's office. Make sure all information is accurate, including square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether the basement is finished, etc. Also check for clerical errors in any calculations. Verify that any tax breaks you are entitled to are reflected in the records, such a reductions for a owner-occupied home or for the elderly, disabled, or veterans.
Check values of comparable properties to see whether your assessment is in line. It is best to find comparable properties of a similar size in your own neighborhood, checking at least three to five properties.
Appeal if you find an inaccurate assessment. Forms are typically available at the assessor's office, but adhere to the deadlines. Most appeals must be filed within a narrow time period. Consider discussing the issue with the assessor first, since it's not unusual for an assessor to correct an error without an appeal.

Posted in Tax Topics For Individuals

Disclaimer: The information contained in Dulin, Ward & DeWald’s blog is provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice on any subject matter. Before taking any action based on this information, we strongly encourage you to consult competent legal, accounting or other professional advice about your specific situation. Questions on blog posts may be submitted to your DWD representative.

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