November 1st, 2017 7:00 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
When a higher-than-expected tax bill shows up, many
homeowners may wonder if they can appeal their property tax assessment.
It's a natural reaction. So let's first look at what a property tax assessment
is before diving into whether or not a homeowner can appeal it.
Property tax assessments
are made by tax assessors, employees of the local government who are tasked
with determining the value of various properties, says Michele Lerner,
author of "Homebuying: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time."
are typically evaluated every one to three years, and the government then uses
that assessment to calculate your property taxes.
That said, if you think the assessed value of your home is too
high, you do have the right to appeal.
you do that, however, it's worth noting that there's a silver lining
to a hike in your property assessment. In most of the United States,
property taxes are based on a property's assessed value as of
a certain date. The taxing entity will take that value as well as government
costs into account in calculating your tax bill.
other words, if your property assessment is higher than your previous tax bill,
it may be because your home has increased in value. That's good news if you're
planning on selling in the future! It could translate to a higher purchase
price. If you're planning to stay put but looking to refinance your mortgage or take out a home equity loan,
the higher assessment can still work in your favor.
what about that pesky tax bill? Can you do anything about it? That's where
the appeals process comes in.
property tax assessment should have an explanation of how to make an appeal on
the form you received in the mail," Lerner says. You can also search for your
county or state's assessment appeals board or department of taxation and
finance online. Start by searching for your county plus "assessment
you're planning to appeal your property tax assessment, it's important to start
the process soon after receiving notification that your assessment is higher.
Your local property tax office will have a date established by which appeals
have to be filed. If you try to mount an appeal after that date has passed,
you'll get an automatic denial and be stuck with that higher bill.
an appeal is not as simple as shouting out: "Hey, my taxes are too
expensive!" You'll need to provide concrete reasons that challenge the
assessor's decision; an estimated value on a real estate website or simply
your opinion won't be enough to get the bill changed.
should provide documentation of a recent homeowners insurance evaluation, a
recent appraisal or, if you refinanced or purchased this home recently, a settlement
statement," Lerner suggests.
your appeal does not work, and you're worried that you won't be able to
pay your bill, Lerner suggests making a call to your local property tax
office to discuss options for tax relief.
more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch
By Jeanne Sager – To view
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