Challenging your tax assessment is a process. There are deadlines, research, necessary documentation and forms, rules, and property history that need to be considered.
Don’t be scared away from considering this because it may appear complicated. We can simplify the process with just a few documents from you, including your tax bills.
Here Are A Few Facts about Reducing Your Real Property Taxes:
- How are taxes determined? Real property taxes are a function of property market value, multiplied by a concept called the “equalization rate.” The equalization rate is a percentage that is unique to the municipality where your property is located. This is then multiplied by the tax rate. The formula is: market value x ER% x tax rate = your tax. The National Tax Payers Union estimates that 30%-60% of properties are over assessed. While homeowners cannot contest their property tax rates, they can try to lower the assessed value of their home.
- Are my taxes too high? There are two standards for making this determination. A) Over Assessment – your tax assessment reflects the assessor’s opinion and the assessor may assign a property value greater than its market value B) Unequal Assessment – your tax assessment is out of line in comparison to assessments for similar properties.
- How do I lower my assessment? You must file a grievance with the Board of Assessment in the municipality where your property is located. If unsuccessful, you can commence a proceeding in the Supreme Court called a Tax Certiorari to challenge the Board of Assessment Review.
- Are there property tax reductions and exemptions available? With proper research and documentation, some may be available to you.
- Time is running out. Now is the time to consider your residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, or vacant property assessment. The deadline to file is usually the fourth Tuesday in May (May 24, 2016) for most Orange County towns and cities.
- How much will it cost to file a grievance? Discuss the legal fee with an attorney who will assert your rights. We can undertake representation by a contingency fee, which is a share of the tax reduction, a flat fee, or an hourly-rate fee arrangement.
- Does it cost anything to see if I am over paying? We can answer the question of whether you are over assessed or unequally assessed, usually within 24-hours. This will be at no charge.
- Next steps: Determine if you want to move forward. Contact effective, experienced legal counsel and have your tax bills ready. Again, the deadline is May 24th so now is the time to see if you can get relief.