When you buy a home, you are required to pay property tax on it. Each state charges a certain percentage based on the value of the land and improvements made on the property. Real estate property tax can average 1 to 2% of the total value of the home. Property owners pay these taxes for as long as they own their homes.
Times are tough and property values have decreased significantly in most areas. If you disagree with the assessed value, you have a right to an assessment review. You will need to document that your home is worth less than the amount the county assessor assigns to your home. You can call your county assessor’s office to get the required forms. Often a website is listed on the back of your tax bill where you can download a copy of the forms you will need. There are filing deadlines so make sure you follow the information on the website.
3 steps to request lowering your property taxes:
Have a real estate appraisal of your property. If your appraisal value is less than the tax assessor’s value, a tax reduction can be justified.
From a local real estate broker, get a couple of comparable property sales that are about equal to yours in square footage, property size, and neighborhood location. The comparables should show only recent sales (within the last 3 to 4 months).
Complete the forms the tax assessor’s office requires you to send. Mail your real estate appraisal, comparables, and required forms to the tax assessor. Include a letter explaining that you are requesting that the county to re-asses your property and that you have included recent data proving that your property value is lower than what it used to be. Be sure to use registered or receipt acknowledgement so you can track your mail.
If you have done your homework, you have a good chance of successfully lowering your property tax bill.