Limiting Your Property Taxes

It may pay to appeal your property tax assessment. To succeed, you need a plan:

* Learn the local rules. In some areas you have only 30 days to appeal, after receiving an assessment, so you need to act quickly.


* Read the property tax notice. See if it overstates the value of your house. For example, check to see if your house has fewer square feet or fewer rooms than the notice states.


* Look for other reasons that your home may be overvalued. Your house might be near a noisy highway or in a flood zone.


* Find out if your house is over-assessed, when compared with others that are comparable. At your local assessor’s office, check to see if homes that are similar to yours in size or age or location have lower assessed values than yours.


If you have a legitimate reason to support lower property taxes, contact your assessor’s office and request a private meeting to make your case. If you can’t arrange an informal conference, make a formal appeal to the local assessment board. Before your appeal date, sit in on somebody else’s public hearing to see how the board operates and get a sense of which arguments are most likely to succeed.