Property taxes are an inevitable aspect of home ownership. Many property owners complain about high-property taxes and they may have a point. According to a recent report in Kiplinger magazine, close to 60 percent of properties are taxed too high. However, the process for lowering your assessment and retrieving overpayments is complex. Here are some considerations:
Specific details on appeals and refunds should be available from your local county tax assessor’s office. Filing deadlines are important; missing the deadlines usually means no refund.
Appealing your appraisal requires diligent research. You must find properties of similar make-up (i.e., comparable neighborhood, size, features, amenities, etc.) that sold recently for less than your appraised value. A professional appraiser may be required.
If you make a mistake such as paying the wrong amount, even if the appraisal was correct, or paying twice, you will be able to receive your refund. Contact the county treasurer or appraisal office for specific instructions.
In a worst case scenario, you can sue to attempt to obtain the refund. Success in court depends on both your individual situation as well as part court rulings. For example, New Jersey courts rule against giving refunds to homeowners who failed to file appeals on time, even if the assessment was wrong. Going to court is expensive so be sure to have your facts straight and the best legal team you can afford.
Owning your own home as well as other property is part of the American dream. However, property taxes can be an unforeseen burden. Paying too much in property tax can add to a tight budget. If you think you deserve a refund, work with your appraisal office to determine the best path for your payback. Your peace of mind and bank account will both improve!
Source: The Nest