If you’re like most property owners, you probably think that your property taxes are too high. And you’re probably right. More than twenty-five percent of all owner-occupied properties are over-assessed. And that also means that each year you let this slide means you’re probably paying higher taxes than you need to year after year. So when there is a tax increase you’ll be paying more because your city’s tax assessor will be applying their new rate on top of a higher miscalculated assessment.
The bottom line is that you’ll be paying more each year … more than you probably need to pay.
What can you do about it? Well, you can fight city hall. Yes, you can do something about it.
Through a property tax appeal process you can request an abatement on your property taxes. While there is a defined process that you need to follow when filing your forms requesting an abatement, the key thing is to be armed with the right information to make your case.
Tax assessors rely on information about a property reported in their records about the dwelling’s size, number of rooms, bathrooms and amenities. They rely on “mass appraisals” completed by valuation companies. Typically, no one actually comes out to inspect your property as they would if you were getting a bank loan and the bank hired an appraiser.
So that information may not be correct. And the valuation is driven by a complex formula that takes into account recent sales activity for similar type properties.
What you can do – what you NEED to do – is make sure the information is correct. And provide the tax board with FACTS that can be used in a valuation.
There are typically three approaches to valuation of real estate: cost to build, income approach, and comparable sales.
By providing a tax board with information that is current about actual sales activity with properly derived adjustments for differences between your property and these comparable sales, you can build a case for an appeal.
While you could do the footwork on recent sales or contact a local Realtor, you can also access various online databases such as the one offered by ValueAppeal , a Seattle, Washington-based information service.
Armed with this type of information will increase your odds of lowering your property tax bill.