How to Contest Your Property Taxes
Taxes are a part of life. We have to pay income tax to the federal and state government, and we pay taxes with each purchase. As a homeowner, you're also responsible for paying property taxes. But what if property values have fallen and you feel your property tax is higher than it should be?
You don't have to sit silently—you can dispute or contest your property taxes.
Your tax rate is based on the city’s assessment of your property, which is often determined by property values in the area. Disputing your property tax bill is possible. But to win your case, you must provide concrete evidence supporting your claim.
Contesting Your Property Taxes
To begin the process, call your city’s real estate assessor’s office and request a property tax dispute form. Fill out the form and be as specific as possible. Explain why you feel your assessment and property taxes are too high. Perhaps you and a neighbor have an identical house, yet this person pays less property taxes than you. This is a legitimate reason to dispute our tax bill.
Understand, however, completing the dispute form does not guarantee a hearing. But if the real estate tax assessor’s office believes you have a legitimate complaint, the next step is scheduling an appointment for an official hearing where you are given an opportunity to explain yourself in-person.
To prepare for a hearing, you may need the help of a real estate agent who can access home assessment records for the area. This way, you can compare your assessment with other properties. For this to work, the comparison must be based on home’s with similar square footage and features. If your home has a swimming pool and a comparable property in the neighborhood doesn't, this could explain your higher property tax bill.
The assessor’s office will hear your case, review your evidence and then make a decision. If the office decides in your favor, congratulations. But if not, the assessor’s office will provide an explanation.
You have every right to question the city's assessed value of your property. If you feel you're paying too much for property taxes, speak up. You never know, the city may acknowledge its error and lower your tax bill.