All property owners are usually liable for property taxes unless they are duly exempted by the local tax assessor’s office. Property taxes are determined through the appraised market value of your property. Based on the appraised value, you will be billed a small percentage of it as the tax for the property. The tax assessor’s office will do property appraisals yearly. This means you will need to pay the property taxes yearly as well. Sometimes, the assessments and appraisals of a property can err, which can lead you to pay a higher property tax than you are supposed to. If this happens, then your only course of action is to contest the tax bill.
- Examine your tax bill. As soon as you receive your tax bill, examine all the details on it. Check the address and lot size of your property listed in the bill is correct. If the information is not on your bill, contact the tax assessor’s office to clarify the bill. Look for pertinent dates where the tax assessor will entertain appraisal contestations. Some tax bills will even include information on how to contest an appraisal. Take note of all of these.
- Check your records. Get your previous tax bills and property appraisals and compare the values with the current value listed on the bill. If there is a significant jump in value, then you will probably need to do some more digging.
- Examine similar properties in your area. Property appraisals and tax information is open to the public. Look for other properties similar to yours nearby and check the current appraisals. If the appraisal values of these properties significantly differ from the value listed on your bill, then you may have grounds to contest the tax bill.
- Look for tax exemptions. Get a list of tax exemptions and look for an exemption that you may be qualified for. You can get a list of these exemptions at the tax assessor’s office. Note down any exemption in the contestation.
- Prepare your documents. Before proceeding with the appraisal complaint, ready all the documents you will need. Write a formal letter that consists of your contestation and the points of argument. Back this up with the evidences of error that you have researched on such as the tax exemptions you qualify for, the appraise values of other similar properties, and other pertinent information that makes the appraised value of your property faulty. Make sure to be clear and straightforward when enumerating the points of argument, as you will be provided a limited amount of time to present your case.
- Submit the formal complaint or request. Submit the formal complaint or request by mail or courier. Include copies of the documents needed to strengthen your case.
- Attend the review. If the formal request or complaint will be given notice, a formal review of the case will be schedule where you will be invited to present your case orally. Make sure to attend this on time. After the review, ask the committee or tax assessor when the decision on the case will be released.
Contesting a property tax bill can be quite time consuming and complex. If you are inexperienced, ask your friends with the same experiences to help you out in preparing the documents and doing the research.