There are ways to lower property taxes by challenging property tax assessments when they are found to be inequitable or erroneous. Although the assessor has no hand in budget spending within a taxing district, they do determine the assessed value of all real property, and in some states personal property.
Property tax bills are generated to support city/county services to taxpayers. Basically, the bill is generated by multiplying the assessed value of a property times the tax rate for the district where the property is located.
Taxpayers who can demonstrate that the assessed value on a given property is too high can possibly lower the tax bill for that property.
Detailed below are six simple, but effective actions taxpayers can take in order to make a successful argument to lower the assessed value on their property:
1. Review the current assessment from the county assessor's office and look for obvious errors with regard to size, description or condition of the property in question.
2. Compare the assessed value of the property in question with similar properties in the same neighborhood and look for discrepancies. Assessments are public information and are available at the city/county assessor's office or via internet access through the assessor's web site.
3. Check recent sales prices of homes in the same neighborhood that are similar to the property in question. These prices are also public information or can be obtained from a local Realtor or via internet access to the assessor's web site.
4. Have a new appraisal performed by a reputable certified appraiser.
5. List factors that could decrease the value of a property as of the assessment date. Factors that could lower a property's value are deteriorating condition, undesirable neighborhood influences like smells, air quality or heavy street traffic and declining market prices.
6. Be sure to take advantage of special exemptions. Some states provide tax reductions for veterans and senior citizens. Some states also provide reductions for historic buildings and special energy efficient systems. areas called urban revitalization or tax incremental financing districts also may provide some incentives for tax reduction.
Documentation of your case before an appeal board should include photographs of the property in question and a complete explanation of any detrimental factors affecting the property value.
You should contact your local assessment office for rules and procedures governing the assessed valuation appeal.