Although various localities have specific mechanisms, nearly every one has a process to appeal or grieve one’s real estate taxes. In most cases, this can either be done by oneself, or you can hire someone else (or some company) to do so, for you. Why would someone grieve his real estate taxes? One reason might be because most of your neighbors do so, and you will suffer financially, by not doing so. Another is, if you believe your house is being appraised for more than it should be, and thus, you will be paying more taxes than you need to, or should. Regardless of your reasons for doing so, every homeowner should realize he has certain options and rights, and this article will attempt to touch upon 3 of the basic steps in appealing and correcting something which might adversely impact you.
1. Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): Before you can claim you are being charged too much, you must create and present a basis for your belief. In nearly every locality, one must accumulate realistic, relevant, comparable homes, and compare what they are being charged in taxes, to what you are. For example, if you can locate 5 or 6 homes, which are similar in size, location, property, condition, etc, and their assessed values vary significantly with your home’s, you have created the best initial basis, for appeal. If you are capable of doing so, yourself, you will gain the greatest benefit, but if you cannot, or don’t have the time or inclination, contact a reputable company, to handle this for you. In many cases, these companies will charge you up to 50% of your savings, but remember, that’s still far better than what you would otherwise be paying, etc. In addition, you’ll only be charged the fee, if you receive a reduced assessment, and savings!
2. Show what others pay in taxes (or are assessed): Once you’ve identified the relevant other properties, show how much less they may be paying than you are. This is what you submit as your grievance, etc.
3. Fill out the necessary forms/paperwork: Depending on your location, this process might either be rather simple, or more complex/complicated! In either case, you must obtain, and properly fill out completely, all the necessary forms and paperwork. This is another reason many people opt to use one of the companies that provide this service.
While it is your responsibility to pay your real estate taxes, it is not, to pay more than you should fairly do so! If you believe you are being unfairly taxed, relative to your neighbors, follow the grievance or appeals process.