Do You Need An Attorney To Challenge A Property Tax Increase Or Assessment?May 3, 2019
The average American household spends nearly $2,200 annually in property taxes. If you are like most homeowners, you greet your annual mortgage escrow statement with gloomy resignation. But did you know that your home’s assessed value and the amount you pay in property taxes are not etched in stone? It may surprise you to learn that, according to the National Taxpayer’s Union, over 60% of homes are overvalued for tax purposes, yet only 2% of homeowners appeal their assessments. Challenging your assessment is your first step in lowering your property taxes.
But say you know nothing about tax law or real estate valuation. How can you appeal your valuation and lower your taxes, without taking on the added expense of attorney’s fees that risk wiping out any tax savings you gain?
The first step is to file an appeal. You don’t need a lawyer to do this, as the forms are downloadable online. But once you have the forms, you do need to be aware of two things: 1. Forms must be completed precisely per instructions or you risk having your appeal denied on a technicality, and 2. You must file your appeal within the prescribed window (usually between 30 and 120 days, depending on your state) to have your appeal reviewed. Your local assessor’s office can help explain the review and appeals process as well as alert you to deadlines.
To file a successful appeal, you’ll also need to prove that the prior assessment was in some way in error or did not accurately represent your property’s value. To do this you’ll need to obtain and carefully review the government documents used to assess your home’s value. These are typically an actuarial worksheet and a sales sheet. The worksheet lists the specific characteristics of your home (number of bedrooms, number of baths, roof type, etc.), whereas the sales sheet shows how your home was compared to others in your area to determine its value.
You’ll want to review these documents carefully for math errors or other inaccuracies. Say your home was assessed as having three bedrooms but only has two. Such an error can easily overvalue your property and result in an inflated tax assessment. Another potential challenge can occur if you purchased your home for a price significantly lower than its assessed value. And third, if assessments of other houses in your neighborhood were inflated, this could have affected the valuation of your property. For example, if the houses used for comparison had improvements or other features your home doesn’t share, your property could be over-assessed.
Another source of potential tax savings is exemptions. For example, if you are a senior, a Veteran, or have a disability, you may qualify for an exemption that can lower your property valuation and yield tax savings.
All this can sound daunting, especially if this is your first foray into the world of tax law and property valuation. Fortunately, you are not alone. Home Tax Savings can help.
How Home Tax Savings Works:
- We provide you with a COST-FREE assessment to help you determine whether your property has been overvalued, and whether you have an appeal worth pursuing. We base our assessment on a careful analysis of property sales in your neighborhood to see how your house compares. If we find that an appeal would not be in your best interests, you pay nothing.
- If we determine an appeal is appropriate and would save you money, we acquire and complete the proper documents needed to file an appeal with your local city, township, or county. We complete each of the jurisdiction’s required forms with your personal home data and analytical results The completed paperwork and the price assessment analysis are included in the final package that is provided to you as a PDF file format so you can easily save it to your files or print it out for direct filing with your local assessment office.
- We assemble and complete the needed support documents for your appeal—including a comparable sales report that includes market data, analysis, and photographs of relevant properties, and completed copies of all required local appeal forms for you to directly submit to your local government in a timely manner.
- And best of all, you do NOT need to hire an attorney. Home Tax Savings offers expert guidance from experienced tax professionals at affordable rates that won’t consume the savings you gain.
Why go the extra expense of lawyer’s fees when Home Tax Savings can do it all for less? Contact us today and discover what Home Tax Savings can do for you.
HomeTaxSavings.com is wholly owned by Assessment Solutions, LLC and was established in 2016 as the nation’s first fully automated and integrated real estate assessment review and appeal system. The principals of HomeTaxSavings.com have worked in the real estate and IT world for over 100 years. Founders Keith McIntosh, Stuart Smith, Rachel Brown and Mandeep Sandhu possess a vast knowledge of the industry with many years of experience. The group is gaining wide popularity having covered The District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, California and Washington.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only. The HomeTaxSavings.com website is not a market value appraisal, rather it is an assessment tool.