If you think you may be paying too much in property taxes, there is a way to address this by pursuing a tax grievance. A successful appeal will mean lower taxes and less financial burden on you as an owner, but could also make your property more attractive to buyers if you plan to sell it!
How to File Your Property Tax Appeal
The first thing you need to do is to get familiar with the process and check the deadlines for filing. For example, in New York, the Department of Taxation and Finance provides a guide with steps to follow. Thus, you should start by checking your property’s description in the assessment records and check for any errors that might have led to an incorrectly high assessed value.
Here are some of the arguments you can make when appealing:
• Your property description is erroneous (for example, extra square footage was considered for the assessment.)
• Your property’s assessed market value is too high.
• The homes used by the assessor when making the valuation are not in fact comparable with your property.
The deadline for filing is coming up soon! Grievance Day in New York falls on March 15, 2016!
You can either work with a professional or you can pursue a property tax assessment formal review on your own. If you’re worried that the research will take too much of your time, PropertyShark can help you quickly find the necessary information you need, with the help of the following tools:
1. Use our Property Tax Map and Check How Much Your Neighbors Are Paying.
Our Tax Value per Sq. Ft Map is an interactive and friendly tool that will allow you to get a clear picture of how much your neighbors are paying in property taxes and how your own taxes compare to properties with similar characteristics. Simply look up your exact address using the Property Search tab on the upper left side of the screen and a pin-point will indicate its location.
The map legend will help guide you, as all properties with high property taxes are signaled with a red color, whereas lower taxes are marked with shades of blue – which enables you to quickly identify tax values in your area and gives you clues as to whether your property might be over-assessed.
A simple click on any parcel on the map will open up a mini-report with key property data such as: total tax, building square footage, tax value per square foot. The property type is also included so you can quickly identify whether it is comparable to yours in terms of tax class.
You can use our map to browse around the neighborhood and spot any properties that may help you when filing your case. While you cannot simply appeal your taxes by pointing to neighbors that are paying less, the data available with this map could give you arguments to contest your own assessment.
2. Check full property tax records and assessment history
Each mini-report links to the property’s full records so you can further check all details pertaining to a property’s tax assessment, including whether any exemptions or abatements apply. For example, for this four-family home in Harlem, you can quickly check the tax class, current value and tax bill amount together with the projected values for the next tax year:
Want to get even more details on the property tax assessment paid for a property? Section E. Property Tax will help you find in-depth property tax assessment information including assessed or market value, the rate used to calculate the property tax, and any exemptions granted.
The property’s assessment history will also be readily available so you can check how values have changed over the years.
3. Estimate your Home’s Market Value with our Comparables Tool
When appealing your assessment and tax you’ll most like;y want to prove that the market value of your property has been set too high, and the approach often recommended is to look up Comparables. This is a professional tool used in real estate in order to estimate the market value of a home by comparing it to recently sold properties that are similar in size, characteristics and location.
Using our Comparables product is easy and it will quickly show you properties that are comparable to yours together with their value as our filtering options allow you to get just those results that match. If you find that your property was over-assessed compared to your neighbors, you have a very good starting point for your appeal!
Another useful element to attach to your appeal together with comparables is property photos that might show characteristics that impact a property’s value. You can also find photos on our website, so you can easily download them instead of having to take some yourself.
The key to being successful with your appeal and ending up saving money is doing your homework and presenting a solid case. Don’t forget that Grievance Day falls on March 15, 2016 for New York. You can go ahead and start your research early to make sure you won’t miss the deadline, otherwise you will have to wait another year before having the option to file.