Lowering Your Property Tax
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated January 20, 2021)
Have you ever felt that you were paying too much for your property taxes? Well this may surprise you, but you aren't alone. Most homeowners feel that they are all being charged too much for their property taxes, and only wish that there was a way that they could lower them. Lowering your property taxes isn't that difficult, though it will require some work on your part. Simply follow these simple guidelines, and you will be amazed at how simple lowering your property tax really is.
- Go to the assessor. When you get your annual tax bill, look to see if the assessor's office is listed. Usually it is, but if not you may need to do a little bit of research online, or with your phone book. If you cannot find it using those tools, then visit your local town offices. You need to hurry though, since on the average you only have 60 days to file an appeal from the time your bill was mailed. When you are there, obtain a copy of the property card for your home.
- Inspect your property card. This card is supposed to have information about your home that is used to assess the value of your home (such as square footage, number of rooms, bathrooms, and so on). Carefully inspect your property card to ensure that there are no math errors. Property taxes are usually figured by using a percentage of the value of the home that is multiplied by a tax rate. Sometimes a simple clerical error such as a misclassification of property type, or an incorrect description of your home can dramatically affect the overall taxes you need to pay.
- Compare the neighborhood. Get the average cost of the homes in your neighborhood by either looking online, by visiting your local town center. This information is a matter of public record and shouldn't be too difficult to locate. When you find the information, try to compare your home's value with that of other similar homes in your area. Try to get the homes that have descriptions that are as close to yours as possible. Look for any discrepancies that have a difference of five percent or more.
- If necessary, file an appeal. Every state has its own process for filing an appeal, so be sure that you are familiar with the process for your state. On the average, you will be required to submit some kind of a written appeal that describes why the assessment is in error. Make the statement as accurate and detailed as possible. If a hearing is granted, then you will need to have plenty of evidence, so include things like any flaws your home may have (termites are a perfect example), the property card, the value of other similar homes in your neighborhood, and even photos to compare your home to similar ones in your neighborhood.
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