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If the value of your home has increased during the pandemic, you may receive an increased property tax assessment in the mail.
However, there are ways to combat the high bill, experts say.
Despite a double-digit increase in the prices of single-family homes, property taxes increased by only 1.8 percent, with an average annual payment of $3,785. a report From Atom, a real estate data analysis firm.
Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at Atom, said while the discrepancy could reflect gaps in property tax assessments, the schedule for the new estimates may vary.
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Wayne Cohen, a law professor at George Washington University School of Law, explained that homeowners may be looking at assessments six to 12 months in advance, which may be higher than their home’s current market value.
However, you can try to appeal against the assessment, which can reduce the estimated value of your home for future taxes, potentially saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.
“The chances of an individual property owner getting some adjustment are very high,” Cohen said, “but the change is likely to go in either direction.”
less than 5% According to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, despite the success of many, homeowners insist on a property tax assessment.
Your estate tax assessment letter may include an explanation of the appeals process, which varies by jurisdiction, including how long you have to respond, which may be less time than expected.
After you receive the letter, experts suggest checking it for errors, including your home’s address, square footage, and the number and type of rooms.
“Assessing these values and administering the property tax system is simply a huge undertaking,” said McAllen, Texas-based attorney Omar Ochoa. “So mistakes are bound to happen.”
The local tax office can base your assessment on similar homes that have recently been sold in your area, without having to tour the property or look at the interior. But they don’t look at home defects, such as leaky ceilings or flooded basements, Ochoa said.
Cohen said appeals are generally a “very straightforward” process. But you can hire a professional appraiser to support your case, who can pay for higher-priced homes, he said.
“Remember, once you knock it, it resets,” Cohen said.
You may also qualify for local property tax relief through exemptions, Cohen said, which can lower your bill.
For example, some areas offer exemptions for low-income or disabled senior citizens, disabled veterans, and their surviving spouses, depending on where you live.
“If you’re really feeling the pinch of an unexpectedly high tax bill, it might be worth doing a little research to find out if it’s available,” Sharga said.