Saturday, June 6, 2015 / by Vanessa Saunders
Typically, every few years American homeowners have the value of their property assessed by their local government. The property tax you pay is based on the local tax rate, which you have no control over (except at the voting booth!), and the assessed market value of your home, which you can appeal in order to and thus potentially lower your property tax bill.
It's worth noting that the National Taxpayer's Union estimates that a majority of Americans who challenge their property taxes win when properly prepared.
Generally speaking, there are three ways you can challenge the assessed value of your home:
- You can challenge the work of your local government's tax assessor. To assess your home's value, the assessor uses information that your local government has about your property. This data may include the condition of your property, your home's features and your home's square footage. Compare your own data to the government's, and if the local government's information is off you may have grounds to challenge the assessment.
- The finance site Kiplinger.com recommends that you see how the assessed market value of your home compares to similar homes in your neighborhood. Typically, this data is public information. If you determine that your home is assessed at a value that's higher than similar homes close by, you may be able to challenge your assessment.
- Tax assessors use the sales prices of similar homes to establish a market value. You can also challenge your assessment if you can show that similar homes near you are selling for prices lower than what your home was assessed. Sales records of homes are typically public information.
The appeals process varies by location, so it's important you follow the specific instructions that your locality provides with your assessment letter, particularly appeal deadlines.