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Property tax is assessed by local governmental agencies and generally based on the estimated value of the property.
During the past few years, most homeowners saw their property values plummet decrease but not necessarily the corresponding taxes.
Unless challenged the tax bill most likely didn't change along. But you don't have to suffer in silence and continue paying taxes based on inaccurate valuation.
How to Challenge the Tax Assessment
If there's enough of a difference between the current value and the assessed value of your home to make it worthwhile, then you should consider challenging the assessment.
The process to change the assessed value depends on where the property is located and is based on local laws and processes.
Contact your tax collector to understand the procedure and how to initiate the re-valuation.
Where I live, the assessment appeals process is detailed on the county website. Homeowners can even submit the application for reassessment online.
Be aware that there may be a filing fee associated with the application. Commonly, the request is decided by a local citizen review board.
You may not even need to attend a hearing unless the board disagrees with the request. It is important to continue paying all tax bills due during the appeals process or face late fees and penalties.
Appealing the Assessment Decision
To influence the review board, homeowners should attend the hearing and present their “case” for changing the assessed value. It is important to be prepared and organized for the presentation.
Bring sales information based on the valuation date that supports the request. Remain calm and focus on the evidence versus emotion.
There is a good chance for success if the comparable sales are lower.
Tax Bill Results
Many friends and family in our state have had their property tax bill adjusted due to the extreme change in value in California. Some didn't even apply and the county automatically adjusted the assessment.
A smaller number of homeowners have had it adjusted down more than once. This is a temporary change as the bill will increase along with property value gains over time.
It appears that will be a slow process as least in the near future. If your property's valuation is too high consider appealing it and saving yourself some money.
Thoughts on Property Taxes
Readers, have you applied for a reassessment or has your tax bill dropped?
hoto Credit: Digitalnative