How Do I Fight My Taxable Value on Property?

Assessors use different methods to determine value.

Assessors use different methods to determine value.

When your home is assessed, the amount the government assessor decides it is worth is what determines your property taxes. If you feel the value is too high and thus you are being taxed too much, you can appeal the assessment and possibly have the amount lowered. While different jurisdictions have many different procedures for this process, there are some general steps you can follow to get the taxable value reconsidered.

Contact the assessor’s office to discuss your concerns. You may be able to request a new assessment or an administrative review of your current assessment. This step can often resolve the problem, and you may not need to go any farther in the process. It’s important to be aware that most areas have a cutoff date for requesting a review of your assessment, and if you miss the cutoff you will have to wait until the following tax year for a review.

Present any relevant information to the assessor when discussing your concerns. This could include a private appraisal or data from recent comparable sales. Be prepared to show why you think the assessment is incorrect, and bring up details such as square footage, number of bedrooms, bathrooms and improvements to the property. Compare this information to what the assessor has listed; often, a simple mistake can result in your home being incorrectly assessed, and it is readily fixed when you supply accurate information.

File a formal appeal if you continue to be unhappy with the assessed value of your home. This typically requires filling out a set of forms and submitting them to an appeals or grievance board for review. Expect to include your name and address, a description of the property and why you believe the assessment is incorrect. You may need to wait several weeks or even months after submitting this form to get results; ask at the time you file your grievance how long it should take.

Escalate the problem if you continue to feel that your property is not being correctly assessed. Ask the assessor how you pursue a new assessment in your jurisdiction. Depending on the situation, you may want to hire an attorney to help you fight the assessment or you may be able to get a judicial review of the situation through a small-claims assessment review, a much less expensive option. In some places, you may need to appeal to the Board of Revenue or similar board before going to court, or as your final option in the appeals process.

Tip

  • The assessed value of your home will vary, depending on the rules of your municipality. Some areas assess at 100 percent of the market value, so the assessed value and the assessor’s estimate of market value will be the same. Some areas use a different amount as the assessed value, so your assessed value will be your market value divided by the assessment level. If you see a low value for your home on the assessment rolls, it could be a result of such calculations. If the value seems too high, check to make sure the value is being calculated correctly.
 

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images