How high are your property taxes? Do you feel they are too high? Most homeowners pay property taxes once or twice a year. Some get their property taxes amortized into monthly mortgage payments. But before you write that check, consider challenging your property tax assessment. According to the National Taxpayers Union, a homeowner has a fifty percent chance of succeeding if they challenge their local assessor’s office about their property tax bill. So if you want to dispute your property tax assessment, here’s what you need to know.
First, How is the Amount of Your Property Tax Determined?
Your city’s tax rate is multiplied by the assessed value of your property and all of the structures on it. This determines the amount of property tax you pay. The value of the structures can change significantly if you make any improvements, like adding on a family room, for example.
Assessors determine the value of your house in one of three ways:
- With a detailed inspection
- By checking real estate documents to see how much you paid for your property
- Looking at the median price paid for homes in your area and basing calculations on that information
Second, Why Would You Want to Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment?
Your reasons for disputing property tax assessments can vary:
- You suspect that the assessed value of your house exceeds its true market value. (For example, if the assessed value of the house you just bought is higher than what you paid for it, producing the contract of sale could be enough to get the tax reduced without any further ado).
- Your neighbors, who live in an identical brownstone one or two doors down, are paying less in taxes than you are
- You’re entitled to exemptions that weren’t taken into account – homeowners renovating historic properties in some jurisdictions, for example.
Third, How Do You Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment?
So where do you start when you want to challenge your property tax assessment?
You don’t need a lawyer because most municipalities are more than willing to walk you through the appeals process. But since you might have only sixty days from the time the assessment arrives in your mailbox, you should call and ask about the review process of your local assessor’s office right away. And find out what the important timing points are, too.
Dispute forms are usually included with an assessment by most municipalities. Then, if you question the assessment, you can send the form back. Once you fill out that form and send it back, the process varies.
Most likely you’ll be asked to state your case at an informal hearing at your local assessor’s office. It’s possible to resolve the problem right then and there provided your argument is strong enough. (Like when you suspect that the assessed value of your house exceeds its true market value, for example)
If you’re unable to resolve the problem with a strong argument at an informal hearing, you may be asked to attend a formal hearing. At this second hearing, you must convince a review board of local assessors that their findings are inaccurate. Be prepared for this formal hearing and bring the following:
- Detailed descriptions of properties similar to yours with comparable square footage, additions, etc. from a local real estate agent
- Tax records which can be found by researching property rolls at the assessor’s office
In Review …
When your property tax assessment arrives in the mail:
- Make sure all the deductions you’re entitled to were granted
- Check the assessor’s math and the description of your property. If something looks off, investigate. Human error, like miscalculating square footage or recording an incorrect number of bedrooms, for example, happens.
- Compare the assessments of at least five properties similar to your own
- Make adjustments for differences between your property and the five similar to your own
- If your assessment is too high, make an informal appeal to the assessor. File a formal appeal if the informal appeal doesn’t work.
- Attend an appeals board hearing. (The National Taxpayers Union’s guide, How to Fight Property Taxes, is available for purchase if you’d like more information on the process and how it works).
- Write a summary of your case and rehearse your presentation before you appear at your informal hearing
If you’re able to get the property tax assessment reduced, good job! But if you’re not able to get it reduced, you will only be out a $5 to $30 filing fee. In addition to the time spent trying to reduce your property tax assessment, the filing fee really isn’t all that costly. So it really is worth the try.
Remember, your latest property tax assessment bill does not have to be paid without question. So consider challenging it before you write your check. The deadline is March 15, 2019. If you need help disputing your assessment bill, contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext.206. Or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be happy to assist you.
718-253-9600 ext. 206
The post Do You Need to Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment? appeared first on Brooklyn Real Estate Blog.
SOURCE: Brooklyn Real Estate Blog – Read entire story here.