By Michael Cohn, Accounting Today
Twenty-four percent of homeowners say they have challenged their property tax assessments at some point, according to a new survey.
The survey, by legal information site FindLaw.com, found that the challenges were oftentimes successful. Respondents said they were successful in reducing their property tax bills approximately three-quarters of the time they challenged an assessment. The net reduction in annual property tax bills was most frequently between 1 and 4 percent. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to challenge an assessment.
“It’s not enough to simply march into the tax assessor’s office and say, ‘I think my property taxes are too high,’” said Findlaw.com attorney Stephanie Rahlfs. “Challenging an assessment requires research and due diligence. A challenge needs to be presented with a well-researched and well-organized set of facts.”
She noted that the formulas for calculating property taxes and appeal procedures can vary depending on the county and state. In some jurisdictions, the assessed value is the full market value, while others rely on an assessment ratio that assigns a percentage of the market value.