The Perfect Property

How To Respond To A Property Tax Assessment

by Zachary Thompson

Property tax assessments, not too surprisingly, can leave owners of homes and businesses feeling angry. If you're not sure what to do about one, you may want to talk things over with a professional who provides property tax services. Before you jump into filing any property tax appeals, here are some of the issues you need to consider.

What is the Basis of the Assessment?

More than anything else, you have to know the rules of the game. What measures are used to assess properties? Are there exceptions? How does space usage apply? For example, some jurisdictions have simplified the process to only use square footage as a standard. In such a situation, the only grounds you'll have for challenging an assessment are based on the footage.

From the view of a property tax consultant, this means asking questions about what footage was counted and why. Was a carport counted as a garage, or was a large shed counted as livable space? By sorting through these issues cited by the assessment, you may be able to reduce the footage that was counted.

In many regions, the property value is used as the basis for an assessment. When that's the case, there's a lot more that can be questioned. How was the valuation established, and has it moved since? How many comparisons were made to come up with that number? Is the valuation still relevant, or has it become dated?

A lot of research goes into raising and addressing these questions prior to filing an appeal. Bear in mind that the assessment is based on research. If the sale price of a house was posted online a couple of years ago, for example, that data may be used as proof the valuation is accurate. Make sure to include such information during your initial consultation with a professional.

Getting Representation

If you're at the point where you feel there's a problem that has to be corrected, you may want to hire a property tax consultant. Each state has licensing rules for consultants so check those before searching for professional advice.

Thinking Ahead

One of the best ways to avoid problems with assessments is to think about the future before you make alterations to a property. While it won't help you with a current assessment, it's not a bad idea to talk with a consultant about changes you're planning in order to plan for the future. This especially applies to anything that might expand the building's footprint.

Contact a company that offers property tax assessments and appeals near you in order to learn more today.