How do you appeal property taxes – District of Columbia?
The general process is the same everywhere. Details may vary so you need to contact City Hall – Assessor’s Office and ask how to appeal. They usually have a form and instruction sheet. Watch the appeal deadlines.
The theory is that a comparable house(s) recently sold for the price of your new appraisal. You need to demonstrate it’s an unfair comparison. The key price is today’s salable value – not what you paid 20 years ago.
If you’ve had significant updates to your house done without permits and inspections, you’re asking for trouble. The city can demand a physical inspection of your house to evaluate your claims and they’ll spot that new bedroom, finished basement, outbuilding for the boat, etc. and agree the assessment was wrong – it was too low.
There is a racket of property attorneys use by offering to make the appeal for you. If they win they charge a fee. If they lose, they charge a fee. The homeowner rarely wins.
It is best to prepare your own appeal case, attorneys are not appraisers and will just cost you a lot of cash. You do not even need to hire a real estate appraiser, you will have just as good a chance of winning your appeal on your own when you have the right tools to guide you.
Learn more about how to appeal your property assessment here:
How Property Taxes Are Calculated On A Home
Property tax is probably the fairest tax collected by municipalities. However, it is also probably the un-fairest tax collected by municipalities.
The state where an individual lives determines how much they pay, which may be higher or lower. An individual's economic status can also be a factor in how this type of tax impacts their pocketbook.
In fact when it comes to the decision on taxes and renting versus owning, this may be the only time renting is the best option. States collect property taxes on:
- Improvements to land such as additions to property
- Man made objects that are not stationary structures
It is usually assessed by individual county tax collectors in each state. Land and property are mailed tax payment notices that are the result of appraisals of the property's value. Notices of assessments can be disputed by contacting the tax collector in the land owner's county, and the tax bill is typically paid from a homeowner's escrow amount on their mortgage.
As mentioned, property taxes can disproportionately affect some homeowners. Increases in a state's tax rate can often double or even triple a homeowner's tax liability and often leave them with no option but to sale their residence or land.
Critics of this form of taxation have also decried the fact that it does address the situations of some individuals. Although it is ordinarily paid as part of an escrow account, increased property tax means they would have to pay more into escrow.
Senior citizens on a fixed income have been identified as a group sometimes hit hard by taxes on their property. Such individuals may have high taxes due to an increase in the value of their property, yet find them selves unable to pay because of a reduced income during retirement. This mandatory tax, in some cases, does not take into account factors that may impact someone's ability to pay, such as personal tragedy or acts of nature.
Property tax has also been criticized because of the difference individuals must pay between states. Alabama has the lowest rate at 1.3 percent on property value, while New Hampshire has the largest at 4.9 percent. The average percentage among is somewhere in the range of 2.3 percent.
While Alabama has a tax rate of 1.3, which would seem to make it an attractive location for a home or business owner, someone with property a few feet away in neighboring Georgia would have to pay 2.6 percent, and more than double in Florida with a tax rate of 3.1 percent.
Just how to spend the revenue (or waste it, as is the case with many governments) generated by taxing property values is determined by state legislatures. A state's legislature also has say over reducing or raising the tax rate along with determining how often it should be collected. Additionally, there may also set limits on how much increase, if any, there can be every year.
Property tax definitely helps states with revenue. But while much needed, property tax can also be a deciding factor in where an individual lives or their ability to retain the American Dream of owning land.
Real Estate Tax For Property
How exactly does your city come up with your property tax value? Are you concerned that your real estate taxes might be unfairly high and want to see if you are eligible for a reduction? That is what we discuss here.
First of all, no matter how confusing your property tax statement is, with all of the various terms, ratios, millage rates, etc calculating your real estate taxes really boils down to only a few factors: the market value of your property, your cities assessment ratio and the tax rate.
The market value is what your property would sell for on the open market, without any "undue influences," like being in a state of foreclosure, structural issues with the property, short sales time frame, etc. Again it's what your property sells for under a normal sale.
Property Tax Valuation
The assessment ratio is very important to calculating your real estate taxes and is what is sometimes referred to as your "property tax value". What cities do is multiple your market value, by the assessment ratio, the resulting number is the assessed value.
For example if your properties market value is $500,000 and your cities assessment ratio is 80% your property tax value would be: $500,000 x.80= $400,000 assesed value. Assessment ratios vary from state to state and from jurisdictions. Your assessment rate could be totaling different than your neighboring town.
The tax rate is also known as a millage rate and is the actual rate that property owners pay in their given town. Like the assessment ratio the tax rate varies from town to town and also from building types. For example a commercial building will be taxed at a different rate than a single family home.
In addition, a single family home used as a rental property will normally be taxed at a high rate than a single family home that is occupied by the owner.
To figure out your annual taxes you multiple the tax rate by the assessed value. For example take the assessed value of $400,000 x.020 (tax rate/millage rate) = $8,000 in annual property taxes.
Property Tax Valuation
On a real estate tax appeal you can only debate the fair market value of your property. You cannot argue the tax rate or the assessment ratio (unless they made a mistake and recorded your property in the wrong category). But again, you can only argue the assessors opinion of your properties value. Keep in mind that most cities assessors are over worked and or under qualified, so they very often make outright mistakes. If you know of other similar properties in your area that sold for less than what they have recorded your property at, than you most likely have a case and could save a lot of money.
Don't be like the 98% of property owners that don't bother to appeal their real estate taxes. They are leaving thousands of dollars on the table for no reason. The process to appeal is really not complex and won't eat that much of your time.