How to appeal property taxes

NEW YORK – April 24, 2019 – Home values have risen across the country, which means many homeowners’ property taxes are going up, too. The average annual property tax for owner-occupied single family homes nationwide in 2017 was $3,399, an effective tax rate of 1.17 percent, according to Attom Data Solutions.

Nine counties impose average annual property taxes of $10,000 or more. In Westchester County, New York, the average property tax is more than $17,000 a year. Now that federal deductions for state and local taxes are capped at $10,000, living in a high-tax jurisdiction has become even more expensive.

If your property tax bill has increased significantly, you may have grounds for an appeal, particularly if the increase seems out of line with overall appreciation in your area.

Most jurisdictions give you 90 days after you receive a new assessment to appeal, although some close the appeals window after 30 days, says Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union. Some lawyers handle property tax appeals on a contingency basis, but most homeowners can appeal on their own, Sepp says.

Plenty of property owners challenge their assessments each year, and between 20 percent and 40 percent of them win lower assessments and lower property tax bills. The following steps will show you the way to success.

Step 1: Know the rules
Schedules vary, but local governments commonly send assessment notices to homeowners in the first few months of the year. As soon as you get yours – or even before – check the deadline for challenging the value. You may have just a few weeks. And be sure you know how your locality assesses property.

Source:   © 2019 The Kiplinger Washington Editors; Sandra Block, Senior Editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

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