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March 16th, 2011

Save thousands: Reassess your property taxes



taxesThe most-recent Kiplinger Personal Finance Letter explains that far too many of us are overpaying in property taxes. According to the National Taxpayers Union, “As many as 60% of properties in the U.S. are assessed higher than their current value.” This should come as no suprise given the falloff in home prices we’ve experienced over the last few years. What is surprising is that more homeowners haven’t decided to potentially save thousands by having their properties reassessed:

As many as 60% of properties in the U.S. are assessed higher than their current value, according to the National Taxpayers Union. That’s because local governments assess properties, on average, once every two to three years. As we’ve seen, home values can fall a lot over that period of time. So if your property’s value hasn’t been assessed since it tumbled, you’re probably paying too much in taxes.

Marcie Geffner, contributing writer to HSH.com, recently wrote an article for homeowners that explains how to go about getting your property taxes reassessed. Let’s take another look at what Marcie had to say:

Property tax appeals are especially popular among homeowners today due to sharp declines in house values throughout the U.S. The reality is that not all tax assessors have kept up with these trends, which means some homes may be over-valued and thus over-taxed.

Most, though not all, U.S. states tax residential property, according to John Brusniak, president of the National Association of Property Tax Attorneys in Dallas. Other jurisdictions that also may tax real property include counties, cities, towns, school districts, utility districts, and the like. This myriad of taxing authorities means your first step must be to find out who’s in charge of your property’s valuation. Typically, this information is printed on your tax bill.

Deadlines are inviolable

The other first step (if two such top priorities may be allowed) is to find out the yearly deadlines to appeal the assessment. Deadlines are crucial because the process typically comes to a halt, without recourse, if you don’t turn in the proper paperwork on time or show up for a hearing on a required date.

“There might be some specific small outs in various places, but for the most part, if you blow a deadline, you’re done for the year,” Brusniak warns.

The deadlines might be printed on your tax bill. If not, a telephone call to the assessor’s office or a little online research should produce the information.

To find out moreĀ about how to reassess your property taxes, be sure to continue reading Marcie’s article titled “House lost value? Get a property tax do-over.”

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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