Some call it the necessary evil. We all know we have to pay for schools, fire departments, police protection, roads, and the list goes on unfortunately. So in the case of an emergency its nice to know our tax dollars are at work and these services would be readily available.
But at times it may appear we are being overcharged or taken advantage of when we look at our property tax bill. Probably most property owners think that their property tax assessment is set in stone and that they have no alternative but to render this amount. Nearly all property owners are unaware that they can appeal a property tax assessment to try to lower property taxes.
Since I have been an appraiser for several years and being knowledgeable with the mass appraisal system, I have seen first hand that property owners do not understand that they have the legal right to appeal their property values and also not a clue on the procedure of property tax appeal.
My advice is that if you disagree with the values set forth by the taxing jurisdiction, then start the process of appeal. Begin by contacting your local assessment office to arrange a meeting with an appraiser from the assessment department to go over your values and data on your property record card. Ask questions and look for incorrect data on your card. If you feel your values are too high, then make an appointment to go before the board of appeals. Ask what you will need to present to challenge your values.
Remember there is commonly a time frame in which to file a property tax appeal. Most jurisdictions have a set time every year to process appeals. So if you're contemplating an appeal to reduce your market value and possibly lower property taxes, then my advice is to find out when are you able to set an appointment. Then begin to research and prepare your case.
If you do not question your assessment and assume it is correct, you may be making a costly mistake. You could possibly be losing hundreds of dollars of your hard-earned money every year.