Where do I begin to have my Boston real estate tax assessment lowered?
Appeal rules and timelines are where to begin. Assessment notices typically go out the first few months of the year. But the timeline at your location might be different so be sure you know when the clock starts. As soon as you get your assessment (or even before) check the deadline for challenging the value. You probably only have a few weeks.
Make sure adjustments have been made. Property tax adjustments aren’t automatic. You usually have to apply for them and show proof of eligibility. Even if you are successful in having this year’s taxes adjusted, look over next year’s bill carefully to be sure this year’s adjustments carry over to next year. Do this every year because some adjustments must be periodically reapplied for to show continuing eligibility.
What should I look for to have my tax assessment lowered?
Check the assessor’s official description of your house. Errors happen. For instance, your 3-bedroom, 2-bath house, might be on the tax rolls as a 4-bedroom, 3-bath house. If you can show credible proof, some assessors make the change without going through the formal appeal process.
Compare your assessed value to others in the neighborhood. This could be your first step in preparing to appeal. Property tax records are public information. You might be able to look at other houses online in your neighborhood or you might have to go to the assessor’s office for the information. Compare your assessed value to houses of similar age, square footage, and with the same number of bedrooms/bathrooms to see if those assessments are in line with yours.
What is an example to have my property taxes lowered?
Look for exceptions that might lower your property value. Even if yours is in line with similar houses, you might have circumstances that lower the value of your house. These are things that lower the value of your home in the eyes of potential buyers. Things like a 25-year-old roof or a poorly graded lot that regularly floods. Something else to consider, if your assessment rules allow, is hiring a certified appraiser who can provide strong professional evidence of your property’s value. Review the appeal rules to learn if you need specific documentation for any of these circumstances.
Organize your appeal packet. This is the evidence showing that your actual house value is less than the assessed value. It includes documentation like data on comparable properties, blueprints, photographs, and repair estimates. In most locations, you need to mail or deliver the packet for the assessor to review before a public hearing is held. Know what date it must be in their office. That might be the end of the required appeal process. However, most counties hold public meetings to review appeals and/or report on appeals. It would be in your best interest to attend the meeting to add your voice to the packet of official documentation. Finally, some locations have a higher level of appeal if your local appeal is denied. Make yourself familiar with this process if it is available. In the end, it can take several months to receive a final decision. Keep track of the entire process until a final decision is issued.
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