FEDweek

Challenging a Property Tax Bill

If you’re facing ever-steeper property tax bills, consider appealing. Your home might be overvalued and an appeal could save you hundreds of dollars in taxes each year. In many jurisdictions, you can have an informal conversation with the assessor and get a reduction if there is a clear-cut error. Thus, before paying the tax you should check the accuracy of the information used in the tax assessment. For example:

* The assessment might say you have three bathrooms but you only have two.

* Your house might be assessed as a vinyl-sided house while it’s aluminum and has a leaky roof.

* Your lot may be on a steep hill, making it less valuable.

Assessment reductions are also likely to be granted in cases where you have lost the use of all or part of your home due to a fire or other disaster.

In addition, homeowners who’ve remodeled might be able to contest the assessor’s findings. Suppose you added a room. Doing the work yourself, the value for which you received a permit was $20,000 but a contractor would have charged $70,000. The assessor may add $70,000 to your home’s value, which you can contest.