Here’s an interesting piece of news. The National Taxpayer Union (NTU), an independent advocacy group, estimates that 60% of property in the U.S. is over-assessed. That means that over half of you reading this are probably paying too much in property taxes.
Did you know you have appeal options? On the annual property tax assessment, it will state how many days you have to appeal the assessment and how to file an appeal. Pay close attention to making sure you don’t attempt an appeal too late, then you will have to wait another year.
Here are some practical ideas for how to put your best foot forward in trying to get your property tax bill reduced.
1. Examine the property tax notice to see if it overstates your home’s dimensions. If you can prove your home is smaller than the assessor, you are due for a drop in property tax.
2. Look for other mistakes. Assessors don’t usually actually physically observe every property. They look at averages of other similar-sized properties. Your property may be located near a busy highway or in a flood zone. It may be in a high crime area. There may be an inordinate number of rental properties nearby which are not kept up in curbside appearance.
3. Before going through a formal appeal hearing process, contact your local assessor and provide them with photos, data on comparables in your neighborhood, other relevant data that would cause your property to be valued at less than the assessor’s number. Sometimes they will adjust your property value without any further action on your part.
4. If your local assessor does not voluntarily reduce your property value enough to satisfy your concerns, follow the formal appeals process, which is getting a chance to present your case to an outside board designated to consider such issues. Before you make your own appeal, attend one of those meetings and get ideas on what to say, how to say it and what not to say, etc.
5. Consider hiring a property tax consultant or attorney to do the legwork. Their fees might be charged on a contingent basis such as 25-50% of the amount saved in the first year.
Have you heard? Job 9:15 says, “Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.”
Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 775-882-4459. On the web at BullisAndCo.com. Also on Facebook.