Do you think you are paying more in property taxes than you should be???
According to the National Tax Payers Union, 60% of properties are assessed at a higher rate than their current value. Is your property one of them????
Many property values have dropped over the past few years, however since some assessments are only done once every two to three years in certain areas, this lower value is not always reflected in your tax assessment. There is also always the possibility of human error and one number that was incorrectly entered has skewed your value.
If you are in the 2% of homeowners that decides to appeal their property tax assessment, following these steps will help you along the way:
· Request a copy of your property’s record. Check for any inconsistencies in the report such as square footage, number of rooms, land size, etc.
· Compare the assessed value of other homes in your area that are as close to yours in square footage, rooms, age, and building materials. If your home was assessed higher of at least 5 homes and you do not see any differences between your home and theirs, you may have a pretty good case. If you feel that some of your neighbor’s homes are too high, bring it to their attention and they may appeal their values as well. Look at the length of time between each assessment in your area.
· Know your rights and file your protest on time and according to the regulations of the appeals process in your parish. Your assessment letter should state the appeal guidelines. Remember to follow these guidelines to avoid a tax lien or getting your case thrown out. If you do not have a copy of these instructions visit the Louisiana Tax Commission website to contact.
· Gather up evidence: Blueprints are needed to prove inconsistencies in square footage, or # of rooms. Photographs, listings of comparable properties, and repair estimates can also be used.
· Document everything, every step of the way! Always include in your notes who you spoke to and the date and always keep a copy of everything you send in. If you mail something, do it certified mail. If you drop something off, request it be stamped. If you fax, keep the report that states it went through. Start a folder with all of your evidence and conversations so you can be organized and easily reference your paperwork.
In some cases you can come to a settlement without having to bring the case to your local appeals court if you have enough evidence. Before you bring your case to appeals court, you may want to consider hiring a licensed real estate appraiser to provide a Fair Market Value report. This will not only let you know if it is worth the time and money to go forward with your case, but it will also give you another important piece of evidence. Appraisers are independent and adhere to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), which means that their report will be unbiased. Appraisers for example cannot perform appraisals on homes in their neighborhood, relatives, or anyone that they might benefit from the results of the appraisal. This makes an appraisal report very valuable and reputable in the courts. Appraisers can also testify on your behalf if you end up in court.
If you have any questions regarding your home’s appraisal contact Debbie Hebert Appraisal Service at 504.338.4663 or firstname.lastname@example.org