Property taxes are onerous, difficult burdens to bear, particularly when you consider the number of other taxes you’re liable for during the course of just a single year. There’s good news, though. Many homeowners in the Metro Atlanta area are overpaying in property taxes due to inaccurate home assessments, missing exemptions and delayed assessments that don’t allow for market fluctuations. Appealing your tax assessment can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. However, it’s best to go into the process with the help of an experienced tax consultant.
What Can a Tax Consultant Do for You?
It’s certainly possible to file your own property tax appeal, so why should you hire a professional tax consultant to work on your behalf? There are several important reasons. First, it’s faster. An experienced consultant knows the documents that need to be filed, the information that needs to be gathered, and the process that must be followed to get your appeal in front of the county tax assessor. Second, it’s easier. A professional tax consultant understands how to ensure that you’re determining an accurate value for your property, and to back that value up with viable documentation the assessor’s office will accept.
How Do You Ensure You’re Hiring the Right Consultant?
Obviously, not all tax consultants are created equal, and you need to ensure that the professional you hire has what it takes to give you the best possible chance of seeing a tax reduction. You should choose your tax consultant based on specific criteria, including the following:
• Your tax consultant should be a member of the International Association of Assessing Officers.
• He or she should have considerable experience with residential property taxes (for homeowners). For business owners, your tax consultant should have years of experience with commercial property taxes.
• Your consultant should have direct knowledge of the mass appraisal property tax process, including its many weaknesses, and how those weaknesses affect your taxes.
• He or she should have proven experience reducing taxes for real property owners – ask for proof and referrals and then contact those individuals or business owners to verify.
• Your tax consultant should be realistic about how much money you’ll recoup on your taxes. Beware of consultants promising exorbitant amounts.
Even with all of these qualifications, you should still have an in-person meeting with the consultant before you decide to hire him or her. Discuss your situation and listen to what the consultant advises. If you don’t feel comfortable with them, choose another consultant.
In the end, hiring a tax consultant can save you a great deal of money on your taxes by appealing your value with your county tax assessor. It’s important that you choose the right consultant, though. Look for proven expertise, in-depth experience, and double check all referrals. The right professional will help you gain a healthier bottom line and reduce your tax liability, but the wrong professional might be little more than a waste of your money.