The Importance of Research in Property Tax Appeal

Posted by Daniel Jones on Jan 17, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Do you want to lower property taxes but you don’t know where to start? Do you want to win your property tax appeal but you’re frustrated about your losing streak in the previous years? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then one of your first steps should be to conduct comprehensive research.

The Significance of Research

The crucial importance of gathering reliable and relevant information in relation to your property assessment appeal cannot be overemphasized. Even the best tax reduction consultants will conduct a comprehensive research on each client’s case, thus, increasing the chances for a winning property tax appeal.

Keep in mind that by conducting comprehensive research about matters related to your real property, you can gather information including:

  • The errors committed by the Office of the Tax Assessor in determining your real property’s assessed value (e.g., classifying it as commercial instead of residential);
  • The errors reflected on the property tax card that can be corrected even without filing a formal appeal; and
  • The changes in your real property and/or comparable real property in the neighborhood that have significant impact on your property’s valuation.

While the burden of proof in proving that, indeed, their property valuation was correct lies with the local authorities, it pays to be ready with your own evidence to the contrary.  You, the property owner, should always be ready to take on the local authorities, so to speak, as part of your efforts to lower property taxes.

The Ways to Get Good Information during Your Research 

But gathering good information for your property tax appeal can be challenging, if not intimidating, for most average property owners for various reasons. The details – who to call, what to ask, when and where to ask the questions, and even how to ask them – can be overwhelming, especially since a few of the most important sources will only give each property owner a single shot at it.

Case in point: The property owner can record an interview with the Tax Assessor or his authorized representative. But the opportunity will likely only be granted once during an appeal year – botch it and your appeal’s chances of winning can be affected.

With that said, keep these tips in mind when conducting your research:

  • Always start with the annual notice of assessment to determine where the local property assessors made incorrect entries.
  • Ask for your property’s tax card, scan its entries, and check their accuracy, as well as compare these entries to the ones on your notice.
  • Ask for your neighbor’s property tax cards, especially the ones with similar characteristics as your real property (e.g., number of floors, façade, and land improvements).
  • Ask for information from real estate agents about the property values of similar property in the area.
  • Always prepare your questions before the interview with the Tax Assessor so that you don’t forget to ask anything crucial to your goal of a winning appeal. Your questions can include the valuation method used, the tax exemptions denied, and the errors committed by the staff members, among others.

The process of gathering good information can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially for large residential property. The best option then is to hire Fair Assessments, LLC, a tax reduction service with the right knowledge, skills and networks to do the job well. The process to lower property taxes don’t have to take too much of your time, after all.

Topics: property tax appeal, property tax reduction

property tax appeals

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