Heart-to-Heart Connection

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How to Lower Property Taxes

If home prices fell 27 percent from the 2006 peak to the end of 2008 (S&P/Case Shiller Index), why are we seeing 12 percent increase in tax revenue for municipalities? 

Why aren’t homeowners getting breaks from property taxes?  

Human nature, perhaps.  What government worker wants to take a pay cut, especially when their source of revenue is property tax?  I certainly wouldn’t.  Would you?

The tables turn, however, when we’re on the other side of the fence.  CNN Money.com  informs what homeowners can do to appeal property assessments in any year:

  1. Check the accuracy of your official property record, available online or in the assessor’s office.  Factual errors aren’t uncommon.  For example, if your house has three bedrooms rather than four, your taxes can get lowered immediately.
  2. Gather info on comparable homes using real estate sites or contact your realtor.  Look for homes within a mile of your address that sold within two months of the municipality’s assessment date (usually Jan. 1).
  3. Informally discuss findings with the assessor.  If meetings go nowhere (with so many angry taxpayers, there’s no guarantee we may even get a meeting), appeal ASAP.  If you can’t get a date until after taxes are due, pay up; get a refund after winning.
  4. If you lose, get a property tax attorney.  Ask for contingency.  Avoid hourly fees of $150 to $400.  Most demand half of your first year’s tax savings.  If you win, those savings should accrue for years to come.

Bottom line, time, research, and perseverance just might yield desired results.  🙂 



February 21, 2010 - Posted by | America, Attitude, Business, Change, Finance, Money, Self Help, Stress | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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