- Property Value
- Equalization Ratio
- Millage Rate
Having a realistic estimate of the property’s value is key to the process as that determines the other elements. A knowledgeable review of your property tax bill can begin the evaluation of whether an appeal has a good chance for success.
The process for appealing a property tax assessment varies from state to state, however in most cases involves the filing of a formal appeal, a hearing before a politically appointed board of view and then, if necessary an appeal to local or state courts. While many appeals result in filings in court, few actually reach the trial stage, but we recommend always being prepared for the eventuality of trial.
The entire process can sometimes take several years, if the case goes to trial and the decision is not rendered quickly. The likelihood of going to trial depends on a variety of factors. These include:
- the size of the potential disparity between the implied market value from the assessment and the actual market value
- the number of years involved (in many jurisdictions, appeals can be filed backward several years, or cases can drag on with multiple annual filings)
- the potential refund the taxing authorities may be liable for
- the taxpayer’s attitude toward the case and financial situation
- the difference between the two sides’ appraisals
- deferred maintenance or capital improvements at the property
The politics of any appeal cannot be overlooked. A substantial reduction to the assessment of a large property can impact the budgets of school districts, towns and counties. The rest of the property owners have to make that up.