Reducing Property Tax Liability
There are ways to lower property taxes
by challenging property tax assessments when they are found to be
inequitable or erroneous. Although the assessor has no hand
in budget spending within a taxing district, they do determine the
assessed value of all real property, and in some states personal property.
Property tax bills are generated to support city/county services
to taxpayers. Basically, the bill is generated by multiplying the
assessed value of a property times the tax rate for the district
where the property is located.
Taxpayers who can demonstrate that the assessed value on a given
property is too high can possibly lower the tax bill for that property.
Detailed below are six simple, but effective actions taxpayers
can take in order to make a successful argument to lower the assessed
value on their property:
- Review the current assessment from the county assessor's office
and look for obvious errors with regard to size, description or
condition of the property in question.
- Compare the assessed value of the property in question with
similar properties in the same neighborhood and look for discrepancies.
Assessments are public information and are available at the city/county
assessor's office or via internet access through the assessor's
- Check recent sales prices of homes in the same neighborhood
that are similar to the property in question. These prices
are also public information or can be obtained from a local Realtor
or via internet access to the assessor's web site.
- Have a new appraisal performed by a reputable certified appraiser.
- List factors that could decrease the value of a property as
of the assessment date. Factors that could lower a property's
value are deteriorating condition, undesirable neighborhood influences
like smells, air quality or heavy street traffic and declining
- Be sure to take advantage of special exemptions. Some
states provide tax reductions for veterans and senior citizens.
Some states also provide reductions for historic buildings and
special energy efficient systems. Areas called urban revitalization
or tax incremental financing districts also may provide some incentives
for tax reduction.
Documentation of your case before an appeal board should include
photographs of the property in question and a complete explanation
of any detrimental factors affecting the property value.
You should contact your local assessment office for rules and procedures
governing the assessed valuation appeal.