REDUCING PROPERTY TAX LIABILITY

Many real estate tax assessments are made erroneously, and many homeowners who challenge their real estate tax assessments succeed in reducing their property taxes.

Basically, property tax bills are generated by taking the assessed value of a property and multiplying that value by the tax rate for the area where the property is located. Taxpayers that can demonstrate that the assessed value on a given property is too high can lower the tax bill for that property.

Detailed below are six simple, yet effective actions that taxpayers can take in order to make a successful argument to lower the assessed value on a given property.

  1. Review the current assessment from the county assessor's office and look for obvious errors with regard to the size, description, and/or condition of the property in question. Be certain that there is no personal property included in the assessment.
  2. Compare the assessed value of the property in question with similar properties in the same neighborhood and look for discrepancies. These assessments are public information and are available at the county assessor's office.
  3. Check recent sales prices of homes in the same neighborhood that are similar to the property in question. These prices are also public information and can be obtained from a local Realtor.
  4. Obtain a copy of the most current appraisal for the property in question and/or have a new appraisal performed.
  5. List factors that could decrease the value of a given property at the point of sale. Factors that could lower a property's value include an unusual floor-plan, a busy street, and/or a recently constructed shopping complex close to the property.
  6. Be sure to take full advantage of special exemptions. Some states permit reductions in property taxes for veterans and/or senior citizens. Certain states also permit reductions in property taxes for historic buildings and/or buildings that have installed special energy conservation systems.

Even if it is not possible to get the taxes for a specific property reduced this year, taxpayers should keep a watchful eye out for future increases.



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