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4 Reasons to Submit a Property Tax Appeal Letter

November 30th, 2020

We all expect to pay property taxes on our homes, but how much we pay may come as a surprise to some. If your property taxes are giving you sticker shock, you’ll be happy to know that you may be able to lower your property tax obligation by sending a property tax appeal letter. This process helps protect homeowners from paying too much for their property taxes, ensuring their property valuations are accurate, fair, and up to date.

Property tax appeal letters may be appropriate for many different situations. Coakley Realty helps break down each scenario so you can better understand how your specific situation may benefit from going through the property tax appeal process.

Why Submit a Property Tax Appeal?

A number of factors can influence an unexpected spike in your property valuation, each of which can help strengthen your case for lowering your tax obligation.

Inaccurate Valuations

Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes those mistakes can end up costing you a lot more in property taxes than you should actually pay! Included in your valuation may be inaccurate property details, under-depreciated assets, or even someone else’s property. You may also have personal property included in your valuation that you no longer own. The following examples illustrate how these inaccuracies may have developed:

  • Before your valuation, your refrigerator broke and you bought a new one to replace it. The assessor recorded your new refrigerator and the old one, increasing your total property valuation even though you no longer own the discarded fridge.
  • The assessor’s records do not reflect a change in ownership, so you receive a property tax bill for a property that you no longer own and therefore are not responsible for.
  • Some assets depreciate faster than others. The faster the depreciation, the less money you owe come tax time. Your assessor may have inaccurately valued the rate of depreciation for your assets, costing you more in property taxes as a result.
  • Your assessor may have recorded the wrong square footage, acreage, construction year, or building features during your valuation.

Double Assessment

A simple clerical error can end up costing a pretty penny — especially if that error results in a double assessment of your real or personal property. For instance, if your address reads N. Bridge Road, you may receive a valuation for North Bridge Road and N. Bridge Road, costing you double the amount in property taxes.

Unfair Comparisons

Valuations should be comparable to other properties within their jurisdiction. If you’re paying 50% higher property taxes for your home than a neighbor a mile away, there may be something wrong with your valuation. Consult with a tax appeal specialist to prepare your letter and lower your tax obligation.

Unreasonable Value Increases

You may receive a valuation that’s unreasonable, or even unlawful. For instance, if you notice a 5% increase on your property tax in Baltimore County, you are well within your rights to seek a property tax appeal and lower your obligation. This is because Baltimore County and Baltimore City cap their annual property tax increases at 4% — anything higher may be subject to appeal.

Coakley Realty for Your Tax Appeal Services

Knowing when and how to prepare a tax appeal letter can be a challenge. Thankfully, the property tax specialists at Coakley Realty are here to help you prepare your property tax appeal letter. No matter what may be the underlying cause of your increased property valuation, our team can help you uncover your options and formulate an appeal. Contact our team to get started with your property tax appeal letter today!