When a homeowner receives a property tax assessment, they are not required to pay it without review. All property owners have a legal right to review and appeal a tax assessment if they do not believe it is accurate. Learn about some of the common errors that could cost you more.
Inaccurate Home Description
Property taxes are calculated using several factors, but one of the most important is the actual description of the home. If there is any misinformation within the description, the tax fee you're assessed could be based on amenities or space that you don't even have. For example, even a small error like reporting that a home has five bedrooms when it only has four can increase the tax assessment, especially if there is square footage added on to the home. Highlight any misinformation you spot.
In some counties, property owners that meet certain criteria can have their property taxes reduced. For example, military veterans who have a service-connected disability rating over a certain threshold, such as 50%, can see their tax liability reduced or even eliminated. If you qualify for any type of exemption and you do not see a record of it being added to your tax assessment, it's important that you bring up this incorrect information to avoid paying more than you should legally have to.
Tax assessments are also calculated using data about the home's market value. By law, the market value that the tax office uses does not have to be exactly the same as what the home would actually sell for, but there should be some level of continuity between the two figures. For instance, a home with a tax assessor market value of $500,000, but that based on similar properties in the area would only sell for $300,000, is a major discrepancy that should be addressed.
Contact a Professional
The above-mentioned errors are all issues that can leave a homeowner with a tax bill that is much higher than it should be. However, it's important to remember that these errors are just a fraction of what could occur. If you receive a tax assessment that does not seem accurate, you should contact a property tax consultant to have the data reviewed. These professionals have a keen eye for spotting a mistake that you might miss, and they will use this skill to help you save money.
Follow these tips to ensure the amount of property taxes you pay is fair and legal.