Property taxes are rising, and the rate in each state varies. New Jersey pays an effective property tax rate of 2.38%, which is the highest in the country. Property taxes can rise or fall, but in most cases, a person will have their home’s value assessed and property taxes will go up.
Homeowners can fight back against these tax hikes.
“Each year, untold numbers of property owners, who are over-assessed by the local Assessor’s office, end up paying far more in real estate taxes than is necessary. Navigating the appeals process can be confusing, tedious and time-consuming,” explains Law Offices of Gary H Smith, P.C.
If you want to fight back against rising property taxes, there are a few things that you can do:
View Property Taxes of Your Neighbors
A lot of states allow you to view the property taxes of your neighbors. You’ll want to view similar houses, in terms of sizes and upgrades, in your neighborhood. If the owners of these homes are paying significantly less than you, it’s a good idea to ask for the property to be reassessed.
You may be paying more than required due to errors on part of the tax assessor.
Natural Disasters Went Through the Area
Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area, and homes that were left lost a lot of value in the process. When homes are destroyed and towns need to rebuild, property values will drop. This is a time when you can use a natural disaster to your advantage.
Ask a realtor to run comps in your area or run the comps on your own to determine how property values have been impacted.
Appeal the Property Tax Assessment
If your property taxes went up, you’ll receive a letter in the mail alerting you to the rise in property tax. You’ll want to take this time to read through all of the paperwork and appeal the tax increase.
The appeals process will be outlined on the paperwork that you receive.
Keep in mind that when you appeal, the property tax cannot rise. You may have your home’s value decreased, so if you’re selling your home, this may not be a good time to file an appeal.
Statistically, 30% to 60% of homes have their values over-assessed for taxes. You can file an appeal, but know that just 5% of people actually file an appeal. It’s your right to fight back against an overstated property value, but there is a deadline, so act quickly if your property taxes have risen.