Are Your Property Taxes Too High?
Income Tax Isn’t the Only Important Tax This Time of Year
We may be in the middle of income tax season, but hoping you’ll be getting a refund isn’t the only thing you should be thinking about this time of year…especially if you’re a homeowner. That’s because the National Taxpayers Union (a nonprofit citizen group) estimates that between 30 and 60 percent of properties are assessed for too high of a value, resulting in an incorrectly larger property tax bill.
Taking the time to review your property tax bill could save you a nice chunk of change. And the good news is that it’s easy.
First, contact your local tax assessor’s office and ask for someone in the reassessment area. Find out when appeals are heard (Chester County – May 1 to August 1), and how the process for submitting a property tax appeal works. Additionally, ask for a copy of your property card. Review the card and confirm that the basic information about your property is correct. For example, is the square footage and number of rooms for your home accurate? If the number is incorrect, the county may change the assessment without a formal appeal.
If everything on the property card is correct but the assessed value still seems too high, your next step is to gather the following documentation to support an appeal. And don’t be surprised if the assessed value is lower than what you think the market value for your home is–many counties use a formula which uses a percentage of market value to determine assessed value. Ask what the formula is, because an assessment which is less than market value still might be too high.
If you have a current appraisal that supports the value being lower using recent market-value information, many counties will accept a copy of the appraisal with the appeal. If the appraisal is outdated, you can order a new one. You can also visit the local assessor’s office or search online, and look through the public records for other homes that have similar features to yours, but have lower assessments. Additionally, contact me Claire Richards at 610.256.2780. I will be able to give you current market information for your neighborhood, and help you see how your market value and assessed value stacks up against your neighbors.
Submitting an appeal is generally a fairly simple process, but make sure to take the time to fill out all forms in advance and be prepared with your documentation if there is an in-person hearing that needs to take place.
Taking the time to review the accuracy of a tax bill could easily save you hundreds of dollars per year, adding up to thousands of dollars during the time you own your home. In addition, the National Taxpayers Union offers these steps below to help you appeal your assessment:
(1) Make sure all of your deductions to which you are entitled were granted, (2) Determine any deadlines or legal requirements for filing the appeal or for claiming any deductions. Comply with the legal requirements and don’t miss deadlines, (3) Check the accuracy of the assessor’s math, description of your property, work papers, and record card for your property, (4) Consult with any experts who might be of assistance, (5) Locate at least five comparable properties, (6) make adjustments for differences between your property and the comparables, (7) Check your property’s assessments against the assessments of the comparables, (8) If your assessment is unfair, make an informal appeal to the assessor first. If the assessor doesn’t agree, file your appeal. (9) Attend an appeals board hearing too get a feel for the process, (10) Prepare a written summary of your case and rehearse your presentation…..
For a property tax appeal form in Chester County please click on this link: http://www.chesco.org/index.aspx?NID=1954
Thanks for Reading,