Collins and Associates, based near Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California, can help you with tax assessment appeals that might lower your property taxes.
Selling prices of residential homes, commercial businesses, and real estate property vary widely over a given month or year. It is easy to assess the value of a property or asset when it is sold for it has a real dollar value associated with it. When it comes to property and assets you own, but are not selling, tax assessments can vary widely for these are based upon estimated valuations. As these estimated valuations increase so to do tax assessments. Likewise, as estimated valuations decrease so to do tax assessments. If you think your tax assessment is too high and you want to appeal how much you pay in taxes, there is a process you can follow.
Get a Property Appraisal
An appraisal of your residential home, commercial business, or real estate property by a certified and experienced appraiser (like David Collins and associates based near Long Beach, Los Angeles County) will determine the true value of the asset.
Fight the Tax Assessor, Long Beach, Los Angeles County
Property taxes are determined by home values, not set by local governments. Different formulas are used to figure property taxes, but all depend on a home’s assessed value. Some jurisdictions use a home’s actual market value, while others use a percentage of a property’s worth. Whatever value is used, it’s multiplied by the local tax rate to compute the property’s final bill. As home values decrease, so do their assessed values. Homeowners end up paying less even though the tax rate stays the same. With an updated property appraisal in hand, it will make it much easier to persuade the tax collector to lower your tax bill.
The National Taxpayers Union (a Washington DC advocacy group whose goal is to lower taxes), estimates that as much as 60 percent of taxable property in the United States is over-assessed. Despite the growing tax bills, only half of homeowners protest their tax assessments. That means many may be paying more property taxes than necessary.
Many taxpayers fail to fight because they don’t understand the process or because they do not want to do the research. This is why it is important to work with an experienced property appraiser. They can do the research, explain the process, and if necessary, contact the tax assessor on your behalf.
Know the Tax Assessment Appeals Process
If you decide on a do-it-yourself appeal, you first need to establish your timeline. When do assessments go out? When is the deadline for appealing? Call your local tax assessor’s office for this information. Deadlines, along with the appeals process, can vary from locality to locality. So does the amount of time permitted for an appeal. Sometimes a homeowner might have only 30 days to appeal. In other jurisdictions, you could have up to 120 days. If your request for an appeal arrives at the tax assessor’s office even a day after the protest deadline, you’re out of luck and will have to wait until the following year (or sometimes the next assessment, which could be longer) before you can appeal. Once you receive your assessment, it’s time to build your case. You need cold, hard facts. Assessments can be appealed on two grounds: a mistake in the assessment of your house or an assessment at a higher rate than comparable homes.
Gather Information to Correct Mistakes
Mistakes happen more often than you think. Many tax assessors don’t even come on your property to inspect it. They simply compare a written description of your home with that of similar properties in your neighborhood. A home’s square footage, for example, might have been incorrectly calculated on original construction documents. Obvious mistakes aren’t difficult to identify. Is the inhabitable square footage correct? Does the assessment say your home has four bedrooms when it only has three? You should also consider checking the assessment’s accuracy by comparing it with a recent appraisal of your property. If you don’t have one, hire an appraiser for a new evaluation. Make sure that any property changes, particularly those that would negatively affect the value of your home, are part of the assessment. For example, maybe a bridge has fallen down near your home, making your house much less accessible (and less valuable). Don’t forget any modifications you’ve made. If you’ve torn down a garage to increase garden space, your home’s value likely would be less.
David R Collins and associates, based near Long Beach, LA, CA, can assist with every aspect of tax assessment appeals.
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Collins and Associates
Long Beach, CA
Contact Person: Dave Collins
Long Beach CA: Property Tax Assessment Appeals