Real Estate

Here’s how to fight a higher-than-expected property tax bill

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If the worth of your private home ballooned throughout the Covid pandemic, you could obtain an inflated property tax evaluation within the mail.

There are methods, nevertheless, to fight a larger bill, consultants say.

Despite double-digit progress in single-family house costs, property taxes solely elevated by 1.8% in 2021, with a mean cost of $3,785 yearly, in accordance to a report from Attom, a actual property knowledge evaluation agency.

The discrepancy could replicate the lag in property tax assessments, with the schedule for brand new estimates various by location, mentioned Rick Sharga, government vice chairman of market intelligence at Attom.

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Wayne Cohen, legislation professor at George Washington University School of Law, defined that owners could also be seeing assessments from six to 12 months prior, which can be larger than their house’s present market worth.

However, you may strive to attraction the evaluation, which can decrease your private home’s estimated worth for future taxes, presumably saving tons of or 1000’s of {dollars} yearly.

The odds of a person property proprietor getting some adjustment are fairly excessive.”

Wayne Cohen

Law professor at George Washington University School of Law

“The odds of a person property proprietor getting some adjustment are fairly excessive,” Cohen said, but there’s potential for the change to go in either direction.

Fewer than 5% of homeowners push back on property tax assessments, despite many having success, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

Appealing an assessment

Your property tax assessment letter may include an explanation of the appeals process, which varies by jurisdiction, including how long you have to respond, which may be less time than expected. 

After you get the letter, experts suggest to check it for errors, including the address, square footage of your home, and the number and types of rooms. 

“Assessing these values and administering a property tax system is simply a large enterprise,” said Omar Ochoa, a McAllen, Texas-based attorney. “So errors are sure to occur.”

The local tax office may base your assessment on similar homes that recently sold in your area, without visiting the property or seeing the interior. But they don’t see the home’s defects, like a leaky roof or basement that floods, Ochoa said.

The appeals process is typically “fairly simple,” Cohen said. But you may hire a professional appraiser to support your case, which may pay off for higher-value homes, he said.

“Remember, when you get it knocked down, it is a reset,” Cohen added.

Property tax exemptions

You may also qualify for local property tax relief through an exemption, which may lower your bill, Cohen said. 

For example, some areas offer exemptions for low-income or disabled seniors, disabled veterans and their surviving spouses, depending on where you live. 

“If you are actually feeling the pinch of an unexpectedly excessive tax bill, it is likely to be value doing a little little bit of analysis to discover out if that is accessible,” Sharga added.

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