When a home declines in value in a poor economy, county tax assessments too often will still reflect market conditions from one to five years ago. To rectify this circumstance, most county tax assessors have established an appeals process you can pursue to get your property tax value properly adjusted.
Compare the assessed value on your tax notice with the amount you think you could obtain for your property in today's market. The chances are good your tax notice is higher than the market warrants.
Check your county assessor's website or call your county property tax office. See if there is a form to complete. Often, you will have the opportunity to set an appointment to appeal your valuation. Taxes are due in November; thus, October is often earmarked for a tax board to review appeals.
Gather solid facts on home sales prices you can bring to your appointment. Ensure it is in a format acceptable to the tax assessor so your appeal can succeed.
Assemble records of all recent homes sold through a realtor. Ask your realtor to print this information from the local multiple listing service, MLS. Bring all the data to your appointment; if you only take a few low sales, the reviewers will know and decline your appeal. Offer to compensate your realtor for time spent, though many will offer to help as a free service to win your future business.
Get a state-licensed appraisal, which costs several hundred dollars. This is worth the expense if your state has high property taxes or your home is worth enough that the price reduction makes a difference in your tax bill.
Submit your data or meet with a review panel on your appointed day. The panel will usually consist of at least three real estate professionals.