Tips For Lowering A Tax Assessment On A Home

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Realty Group

Tips For Lowering A Tax Assessment On Your Home

During the first quarter of the year is when most municipalities will send out their tax bills for the upcoming year.  This time of the year is less than exciting for most homeowners.  Property taxes, depending on where you live, can be a very large sum of money!

There are some homeowners who get extremely annoyed because their tax assessment on their home may seem higher than it should be.  The truth is that if a tax assessment on a home really is higher than it should be, no municipality is going to come knocking on your door with a check in hand to refund you the extra money you're paying in taxes.  That would be nice if they did wouldn't it?! 

As a top Brighton NY real estate agent, I'm constantly contacted by past clients of mine asking about their tax assessments.  I'm always more than happy to help them understand the process of lowering a tax assessment and the steps they need to take.

So, if you or someone your know believes their tax assessment on their home is too high, what procedures and tips should you be following to appeal your tax assessment?  Read on to find out some of the most important tips for lowering a tax assessment on a home.

What Is A Property Tax Assessment & What Impacts It?

A property tax assessment is the figure that a local municipality will use to determine what the yearly taxes are on the property.  A municipality will take the local tax rate and multiply it by the properties assessed value.  A property assessment is made up by two parts, the assessed value of the land and the assessed value of the actual home.  

A pretty common question that homeowners have is what impacts their property tax assessment.  While some homeowners may believe an assessment is made up by drawing numbers from a hat, it is not.  Property tax assessments are calculated by looking at the features and specs a home may have.

For example, a home with 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms will likely have a higher assessment than a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home if they are located in the same neighborhood. 

Home improvements, additions, and updates all can impact a homes tax assessment.  If a homeowner updates their outdated kitchen with new granite counters and high end cabinetry, it's likely that once the home is reassessed the assessment will go up.

Tips For Lowering Your Homes Tax Assessment

  1. Contact Assessors Office - The first step in most municipalities is to setup a meeting with the local tax assessors office.  
  2. File A Formal Appeal - If the local tax assessors office will not schedule meetings, they will likely require that you file a formal appeal frequently known as a grievance.  It's important that if you must file a grievance that you know when the grievance day deadline is.  In most Rochester NY communities, the grievance day deadlines are the fourth Tuesday in May.
  3. Have A Strong Supporting Case - If you're going to be challenging your property tax assessment, one of the most important things to prepare is a strong case as to why you feel your assessment is high.  If you go to a hearing in front of the grievance board with nothing, you will likely be rejected for a lower tax assessment.  

    Homeowners who know how to appeal a tax assessment will be ready for their hearing.  The most important piece of information that you will want to bring to support your case includes recent sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood.  If you can prove that homes that are similar to yours are assessed for tens of thousands less, you will have a strong case and likely will be successful in lowering your homes tax assessment.  If you are unsure how to find information about recent sales, reach out to a local real estate expert.  The real estate agent who sold you your home is a good place to start, if they are still actively selling real estate.

    It's important to understand that the time to review a tax assessment will vary from municipality to municipality.  Some communities will take a couple weeks to review appeals and others a month or two.  Knowing what the average time it takes the grievance board to review this information is important to help set expectations! 
  4. Judicial Review - If your request to have your property taxes lowered by your local municipality is denied, depending on where you live, the next step is judicial review.  In New York State, there are two forms of judicial review, which are small claims assessment review (SCAR) and State Supreme Court for a tax certiorari proceeding.  If you have to get to this point of judicial review, the best way to find out about your states procedures is to go to your respective states website.  They will provide information for homeowners who are looking to lower their tax assessment!

Final Words

One of the most important thing to consider when thinking about attempting to lower your tax assessment on your home is to decide whether it's worth it or not.  If you believe your homes tax assessment is only a few thousands dollars high, it may not be worth the time and effort to save a hundred dollars.  

If you believe your homes tax assessment is way out of line, be sure to know what you're getting yourself involved with.  Knowing what tips and procedures to follow when attempting to lower your property tax assessment!  Homeowners who take the time learn about real estate tax tips can save themselves lots of money!

Comments (9)

Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

Kyle, that is great information for property owners in Rochester.  Thanks for sharing it.

Feb 19, 2016 03:30 AM
Kyle Hiscock
RE/MAX Realty Group - Rochester, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Realtor®, e-PRO®

Thanks Sybil Campbell !  Lots of it can be used in other parts of the country as well.  Are the procedures similar in Virginia when appealing a tax assessment?

Feb 19, 2016 03:33 AM
Anita Clark
Coldwell Banker Access Realty ~ 478.960.8055 - Warner Robins, GA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA

This is an excellent resource and very timely as well, Kyle. Consumers who want more information on how to get their tax assessments lowered would be wise to check out this article!

Feb 19, 2016 08:04 AM
A. RaeNee

I must share this! Great information Sir.

Feb 19, 2016 08:49 AM
A. RaeNee

I must share this! Great information Sir.

Feb 19, 2016 08:52 AM
Kyle Hiscock
RE/MAX Realty Group - Rochester, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Realtor®, e-PRO®

Thanks Anita Clark for the compliments!

Feb 20, 2016 01:28 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kyle excellent advice to any property owner across the board nationwide, one needs to look at their local Assessor's Office procedures and often there is a reduction in the taxes....Endre

Feb 21, 2016 04:47 AM
century 21 sunbelt realty

Kyle Hiscock , Good Advice for property investor. Thanks for share this..

Feb 21, 2016 01:40 PM
Kyle Hiscock
RE/MAX Realty Group - Rochester, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Realtor®, e-PRO®

Appreciate it Endre Barath, Jr. !  I agree, people should start with their local assessor's office to find out the complete scoop!

Feb 21, 2016 10:04 PM