Article: Slash Your Property Tax

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Home & Garden, Personal Finance | Tags: , , |

Slash Your Property Tax

By Lisa Scherzer
Feb 25th, 2009

From Broward County, Fla., to Flint , Mich., homeowners might be facing exorbitant hikes in property taxes.  In one of the more extreme cases, residents of West New York, N.J., are fighting a planned 27% bump in their property tax rates.

Squeezed by foreclosures and falling revenues, many local governments are facing unprecedented budget shortfalls. To fill some of the gap, more municipalities will have to raise property taxes, says Sharon McCabe, associate director of the Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin.

While homeowners would have a hard time fighting the local government on such increases (although West New York residents are certainly trying to), there are ways to reduce the impact of the hit.

Like most homeowners, your property’s value has most likely fallen off a cliff over the past year. If your assessment is based on a higher valuation from several years ago, it’s probably time to get it reassessed, says Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. The end result could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Here are a few things to consider before seeking a reassessment:

1.  Understand Your Town’s Methodology
2.  You Can Do it Yourself
3.  Check for Mistakes
4.  Check Out Similar Sales

For the complete article, click here

Appeals
If your home has declined below its assessed value, you can apply for a tax reduction.  By law the county assessor must check to see if you are correct and even if the assessor denies your application, you can file an appeal.
Specific to the state of California, the California State of Equalization web site has some videos to walk you through the process of preparing and presenting your Assessment Appeal of your Property Tax Assessment at your county Board of Equalization or Assessment Appeals Board.

The video segments viewable on the link above include:

Introduction

Decline In Market Value

Base Year Value

Reassessment After Calamity

Escape Assessment And Roll Changes

Filling Out The Application

Preparing For Your Hearing

Your Hearing

Credits

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