Fox Business has posted an article that discusses how a rise in home value can cause a rise in your property taxes. The article lays out some steps you can use to determine if your property tax assessment is accurate, and if it’s not, you can learn how to appeal it.
Property tax appeals have grown in popularity recently due to the drop in home values all across the country. But this drop in value doesn’t necessarily mean that tax assessors have kept up with the current values, meaning that you could be paying too much tax on an over-valued home. An appeal would only require you to pay taxes on what your home is currently worth, based on national trends. Most, but not all, states charge property tax, so the first step to filing an appeal is to find out who to take it up with. Normally this information is printed on the tax invoice.
It’s crucial that you find out when deadlines are. You may have a rock solid case for an appeal, but if you don’t file the paperwork on time or don’t show up for a hearing, your case will immediately stop being processed and you have to wait until the next year to appeal again. Deadlines can be printed on your tax invoice, or you can contact your local tax assessor’s office to find out.
The next step is to gather information about how homes are selling that are similar to yours. The “comp” houses should be a similar size to yours, have similar amenities, and be in the same area. Comps are very important because it indicates what your home is really worth in the current market.
The tax assessment authority’s website or bricks-and-mortar office might be the best place to find comps. A website operated by a local multiple-listing service (MLS) also may be a good resource. Other websites might be helpful as well, but keep in mind that sites may be incomplete or contain outdated or erroneous information. A search of several databases, based on the parameters of your home, should turn up some useful results.
A local real estate broker could also help you determine your home’s value.
It’s important to remember that an appeal can take months to process. It’s processed in several levels, with each level having its own set of rules that are established by the government and/or tax officials. How long the appeal takes largely depends on your local resources. Some places finish processing appeals in just a few months, whereas other places can take up to a year.
Overpaying property taxes is similar to having a home with an underwater mortgage and automatically going into foreclosure- if you have other options you shouldn’t be afraid to explore them.
If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact us through our website or by calling 205-879-2447. You may also obtain a copy of our free book on stopping wrongful foreclosures and the problems of hidden fees by emailing us. We have also started handling bankruptcy cases.
You can join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.
You can also sign up for our free email newsletter sent out every Thursday morning – we cover topics such as the one in this post. We would love to include you!