Assessed Valuation

Value placed on real estate by governmental assessors as a basis for levying property taxes; not identical with appraised or market value.

Property Tax Grievances - Can I Win?

One of the biggest complaints that I hear from homeowner is that their property taxes are too high. In spite of this, most homeowners don't try to get their taxes reduced.

This is a costly mistake. In high tax states, the taxes on the property can often exceed the mortgage payment. Tax relief is often available to veterans, the elderly and low income homeowners. This relief is statutory and can be achieved by simply submitting the proper paperwork to the town or county you live in. These reductions can be significant depending on the area in which the property is located. These reductions are usually for owner occupied property, not rentals.

The subject of this article is reducing an assessment that the tax assessor has given to your property. There are often errors in the data that the assessor used in arriving at an assessed valuation for your home. The first thing to do is visit your local assessors office and request your property card. This card has the information that the asssessor based his valuation upon. Many of these cards have outdated or incorrect information.

I have seen instances where the assessor valued the property as a two story residence, when in fact it was a ranch or one level home. Since you can't usually grieve the assessment for past years, it is in your interest to start as soon as possible.

Comparing what the assessor says about the property with the actual home is fairly straight forward. Pay particular attention to such things as the number of bathrooms listed, the square footage of the house, whether or not some areas are unheated and the total valuation that they placed on your property. If you neighbors have recently sold similar houses to yours, use that information to compare the valuation the assessor has used. If he has assessed your property at $400,000 and the last 3 similar houses sold for $300,000, you may have a case for assessment reduction.

The sales data that you need is readily available from almost any real estate agent. If you are courteous and explain what you need and why, most agents will be glad to help you. After all, you may be a future client of theirs.

If you can show that they have made an easily verifiable error,you should seek a meeting with the assessor to see if they will correct the error on their own. Most assessors are very reasonable and would prefer to deal with you informally than go through a formal grievance processs.

In a future article, I will go through the strategies to pursue a successful grievance if the informal meeting with the assessor is not successful.

Article Source: Ezine   Continued