Challenging a Property Tax Assessment

Your property is assessed to determine how much property tax you should pay. If you do not agree with the assessment, you can challenge it.

Each state and county has its own process for calculating and determining property taxes. The appeal process also varies from state to state, and county to county. If you want to challenge your property appraisal, first familiarize yourself with the procedures in your state and county.

As a taxpayer, look at the change in value in your property over one year. Most taxpayers think if there is not a significant increase between the assessed value and the fair market value, there is no need to challenge the tax assessment. However, always compare and truly consider if the tax assessment if fair. If the assessment is not fair, it is better to determine this sooner because you do not want to pay the taxes, determine that it was off, and then wait a long time for a refund. Determine the true assessment prior to paying your taxes.

LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor, , Attorney at Law

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If you have paid your property taxes and then decide to appeal, do it within a year. Quick action is best. Gather any meaningful information regarding the market value of the property, and present it to the assessor. What this does is you are providing a strong, well-researched foundation regarding the market value of your property. This is likely to make the assessorís work easier, and increases your chances of receiving money back in your pocket. If you feel that there were inaccuracies in the property assessorís appraisal, narrow down your research to where the mistakes were and highlight any factual errors in the assessorís report.

The best way to detect errors and inaccuracies is to seek the help of a tax attorney. The attorney will learn how property is assessed in your state and county, study the appraisal report, point out errors and valid arguments, collect the necessary information, and present the information in an effective manner. Never underestimate the effect of a well-timed, well-researched, and well-presented appeal. Caving in and paying more taxes then need be lays the foundation for higher taxes in the future. Being diligent and catching mistakes ensures careful evaluation for the future appraisals.

Many people are afraid to challenge their property taxes because they feel like the challenge will bear no fruit, it is too time-consuming, and attorneys will get any extra money that could have been saved. Again, do not cave into myths. Many tax attorneys are very reasonable and there are a number of fee arrangements that can be worked out with attorneys. Some errors are also quick-to-catch, decreases time spent and legal fees.

Lastly, you are a taxpayer and you have a right not to be overcharged. Educate yourself on your property and stand up for yourself when you are being overcharged. Familiarizing yourself with your propertyís values decreases the likelihood that you will be overcharged in the present and future, all around putting more money back into your pocket!

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