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:
Prorations - Real Estate Tax and 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.
Property Tax - Pros and Cons
The property taxes are the largest bills that are received every year. Property taxes are paid in order to fund the local government for necessary programs such as schools, and for maintaining roads in the locality in which we live in. What if the bills are too high and one cannot afford to pay the tax this year?
First thing to be done is to look into the assessor of taxes' valuation of the home. Whatever is determined by the assessor of taxes will have to be paid as property tax. However if you think that your home has been valued more than the required amount, you can make an appeal to reconsider the valuation. If the appeal is in your favor then you will need to pay only the lower and newer valuation for your home. This will bring down your tax bills greatly.
Next, see to that if there are exemptions you are not taking. In many places, there is a homestead exemption that can be taken on your primary home. This will definitely reduce your bills. However if you own more that one property, then you will be able to take the homestead exemption only on you main residence. This homestead exemption can be taken at the local tax office if they are permitted. There is also a hardship exemption but it is offered on a yearly basis.
Also you need to request for a plan of payment for all you properties. Most of the local offices will give you the plan of payment that allows you to pay the taxes over a period of time. In some places, you can pay the taxes in installments until you have completely paid the taxes without needing to make a request for a plan of payment. This can be done to prevent tax foreclosure of your property. Once your property is tax foreclosed then it is not possible for a plan payment to be set up.
If the property taxes are not paid on the due dates it will lead to accrue penalties and interest will start to build up on the unpaid balances even though you have a payment plan. If the taxes are not paid a long period even after the extended time then your property will be tax foreclosed. Different states handle these foreclosures differently. However in all states there is particular point at which the property is seized. Then they sell it off to the local government to in order to pay the delinquent tax. Mostly the government will work with these tax payers to ensure that the properties are not seized.