Have you ever looked at your property tax bill and thought, “There’s no way my house is worth that much!” If so, you’re not alone. Many people believe their property taxes are too high, and as a result, they never challenge their bill. But did you know that you have the right to appeal your property tax assessment? It’s true! In this blog post, we’ll show you how to challenge your property tax bill so that you can save money on your home ownership costs.
According to the National Taxpayers Union, the average effective property tax rate is 1.08%. This may not seem like a lot, but for the median U.S. home value of $226,300, it comes out to $2,446 annually. That’s a chunk of change! And in some states, like New Jersey and Illinois, the effective property tax rate is more than 2%.
If you feel like your property taxes are too high, you’re not alone. In fact, you have the right to challenge your property tax bill. Challenging your property tax bill is something more and more people are doing each year. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Challenging Your Property Taxes
There are a few different ways to go about challenging your property tax assessment. One option is to file an informal appeal with your local assessor’s office. This usually involves simply filling out a form and providing some documentation to support your claim that the assessment is too high. Another option is to file a formal appeal with your local board of equalization or other body that hears such appeals. This process is usually more complex and may require the assistance of an attorney or other professional.
- Determine your home’s value.
The first step in challenging your property tax bill is to understand how your local government determines the value of your home. In most cases, your home will be assessed at its market value—that is, the amount that it would sell for on the open market. However, there are other factors that may be taken into account as well, such as the size of your lot or the age of your home. Once you have a good understanding of how your home’s value was determined, you can begin to build your case for why you believe the assessment is too high.
- Gather your documentation.
The next step is to gather all of the documentation you will need to support your case. This includes a copy of your most recent property tax bill, a copy of your deed or mortgage, and any other relevant documents, such as a recent appraisal. If possible, it’s also a good idea to take photographs or videos of your property as well. This way, you’ll have visual evidence to back up your case if necessary.
- Research your local market value.
Once you have all of your documentation in order, it’s time to start doing some research. You can do this by looking up recent sales of similar properties in your area or by hiring a professional appraiser. Once you have an estimate of your local market value, you will be able to compare it to the assessed value on your property tax bill. If the two values are significantly different, you may have grounds for appealing your property tax bill.
Compare your assessment to others in your area. Now that you know what your home is worth and what similar properties are selling for, it’s time to compare those numbers to the assessed value on your property tax bill. If there is a big discrepancy, then you may be paying too much in taxes. However, it’s important to keep in mind that assessed values are often lower than market values—so don’t expect them to match up perfectly.
- Determine whether or not you qualify for any exemptions or abatements.
Another factor to consider is whether or not you qualify for any exemptions or abatements. For example, many states offer homestead exemptions for primary residences or veteran’s exemptions for disabled veterans. If you think you may qualify for an exemption or abatement, be sure to do your research and gather any necessary documentation.
- File an appeal with your county assessor’s office.
Appeal your assessment if necessary. If after doing all of this research you still believe that you’re being overcharged, then it may be time to file an appeal with your local assessor’s office. The appeals process can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your local assessor for specific instructions. But generally speaking, you’ll need to fill out a formal application and submit any supporting documentation that you have—such as photographs, receipts, appraisals, etc.—along with it. Once your appeal has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled so that you can present your case in front of a panel of experts.
- Attend the hearing and present your case.
At the hearing, you will have an opportunity to present your case and argue why you believe your property taxes should be lowered. Be sure to bring all of your documentation with you and be prepared to answer questions from the panelists. You may also want to bring along witnesses who can attest to the value of your property, such as your real estate agent or appraiser. After hearing both sides, the panel will make a decision on whether or not to lower your property taxes.
- Pay attention to deadlines.
It’s important to note that there are deadlines involved in challenging your property taxes. For example, in some states, appeals must be filed within 30 days of receiving the initial assessment notice. Be sure to do your research and familiarize yourself with the deadlines in your state so that you don’t miss out on an opportunity to lower your property taxes.
Challenging Your Property Taxes to Save Money
If you think your property taxes are too high, don’t just sit back and accept it. You have the right to challenge your property tax assessment, and doing so could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of ownership. With a little bit of research and some persistence, you can save yourself thousands of dollars each year.
Challenging your property tax bill can be a daunting task—but it doesn’t have to be! Ray Tax Group are the experts you need to take the hassle out of lowering your property taxes. Let our firm handle all the steps above, giving you time and money back in your pocket, stress-free!