Sometimes a Capitol Hill property tax assessment notice can give us quite a shock. A lot of property owners see significant increases in their property tax bills due to home value increases, boundary shifts, and other changes. What’s good is that you can do something about an unfair property assessment increase. A significant increase can be sufficient grounds for objecting to it, especially when compared to other properties in your area.
Objecting to a property assessment increase is more common than you think. Around 20% to 40% of property owners have successfully lowered their property tax bills by objecting to their property assessment and saved a lot of money while doing so. The following are tips on how to object to a property assessment increase and possibly lower your property tax bill for the coming year.
Step 1: Gather Evidence
If you have reason to believe your tax assessment has increased by mistake, the first thing you should do is to contact your tax assessor and ask how they determined your property’s value. The increase could simply be a result of the assessor encoding the incorrect square footage or the wrong number of bedrooms for your property. In case the reason for the increase is not that evident, you might need to do additional research. One way is to find some comparable properties that have recently been sold in your area. If they sold for a lower price than your property assessment, that could be solid grounds for your objection. Be sure to check your local laws and regulations.
Step 2: Look Up the Appeals Process
Objecting to a property assessment will be different from one county to another. Hence, you need to look up the appeals procedure for your specific location. A quick browse through the county website or the tax assessor’s website will easily yield this information. You can also download the forms you will be needing from their sites. Note specified dates or timeframes if there are any. In most places, you have to file an appeal within 90 days, but in some counties, that number can be as low as 30 days. There are also locations that accept appeals only within a very specific window of time. Make sure you use your time efficiently by following the procedure exactly as it’s written. This will also improve your chances of success.
Step 3: File and Argue Your Case
As soon as your documents -including your evidence- are prepared, you can file your appeal with the county. Again, make sure you are careful to follow the process as stated in the county or tax assessor’s website. You might need to pay a minimal filing fee; do it using an approved method. Once you have completed all the steps, you will receive a notification for your scheduled appeal hearing. You have to attend the hearing, or else send a representative if you cannot appear personally. If you, or a representative, don’t show up for the hearing, your appeal will not be considered. Bring complete documents and required copies. You will be given a chance to argue your case and, if you are successful, you can have your property assessment adjusted to reflect a more accurate current value.
Objecting to property assessment increases is one of the ways rental property owners keep their expenses under control. However, it can take time and there are many steps you have to follow to increase your success rate. The Capitol Hill property management professionals of Real Property Management Washington DC are ready to help you maximize your rental income. We offer many valuable services to rental property owners like you that can help you keep your costs down and the rental income flowing in. Contact us online or call 202-813-9993 today!
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