If you’re a property owner, you pay property taxes. Even after you pay off the mortgage, you’ll always be on the hook for property taxes.
Not every state calculates property taxes the same way, and some states have higher taxes than others. The most up-to-date statistics reveal that New Jersey’s 2.13% owner-occupied property tax was the highest in the nation.
No matter where you live, it’s possible to file a property tax appeal if you feel you’re paying too much. Keep reading for more information about this vital subject for property owners.
Understanding Your Property Tax Bill
Each municipality calculates property taxes in a specific way. If you’re unsure about how your city or county calculates property taxes, give the local tax assessor’s office a call and ask.
Most assessors use two figures for property tax calculation:
- The tax rate
- The current market value of your property
The local assessor uses the estimated market value of your property and multiplies it by the tax rate.
The process is straightforward but sometimes the assessor makes a mistake. Pay attention to how much you’re paying each year, so you’ll notice if there’s a significant change in your property taxes.
Look at Your Property Tax Info
When you receive your tax assessment notice, look it over carefully. Pay attention to the details such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms listed for your home.
It’s possible the assessor calculated your two-bedroom home as a three-bedroom home. That would unfairly raise your taxes. Make sure everything on the assessment is correct.
You can use the county assessor’s online search to compare your property taxes against your neighbor’s taxes. Are your neighbors with an almost identical home paying less? Then you should consider a property tax appeal.
Filing a Property Tax Appeal
To appeal a tax assessment, file with the property tax appeal board. In your area, it may be an office of tax appeals, the board of tax appeals, or something similar. You can find this information online through the local assessor’s office.
The process is sometimes confusing and having an expert’s help is a good way to appeal your property taxes. There are many law practices that help homeowners with tax appeals. If you’re in the New Jersey area, you can get help here https://www.mrod.law/practice-areas/property-tax-appeals/.
Appealing to the Property Tax Appeal Board
If you decide to go it alone, you’ll need comparable properties to help with your appeal. You must prove one of two things:
- Comparable homes with the same tax are nicer than yours so your tax should be lower
- Comparable homes that are like yours have lower property taxes so yours should be lower
If you can’t find comparable homes proving one of these two points, you’ll likely lose the property tax appeal.
The Property Tax Appeal Process
A property tax appeal isn’t easy unless there’s an obvious mistake on your tax assessment or you’re paying much more than your neighbors for a comparable home. The point of a property tax appeal is to ensure you’re paying a fair tax amount.
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