Over the last year, homeowners have become frustrated as their property tax rates still reflect property values before the housing market bust. Counties across the nation are seeing property tax appeal cases skyrocket.
MSNBC reports that 60% of the nations taxable property might be overassessed. In response to these numbers, property tax assessment appeals are are on the rise. Frustrated homeowners, however, still have an uphill battle. The appeals process is notoriously complicated and many county codes favor the assessor over the property owner. For these reasons, many homeowners either lose their appeal, or choose not to begin the process in the first place.
Illinois based Mainstreet Organization of Realtors recently addressed the issue on their blog. They feel that homeowners are not given a fair opportunity to be informed about the property assessment process, or to fight overvalued assessments. Fortunately, it would appear that some steps are being taken to remedy the situation. Illinois State Bill 3334, which passed in both houses of the state legislature on April 23, 2010, gives greater rights to homeowners in the property tax assessment process by ensuring that short sales and foreclosures be considered as comps for property assessment.
Local and state legislatures are finally beginning to step up on behalf of their constituencies. On April 29, 2010, the Georgia legislature passed bill SB 346 that overhauls property tax code in the state. The bill gives greater rights to to homeowners when it comes to assessment appeals.
The bill, considered the most sweeping overhaul of Georgia’s property tax system:
* Every owner will receive an annual Notice of Assessment, which triggers the right to appeal
* Every Notice of Assessment must contain estimated property tax
* Expansion of appeal time-period from 30 to 45 days
* Alternative streamlined appeal option for property valued in excess of $1,000,000
* Automatic taxpayer victory on appeals when government fails to respond within 45 days
* Foreclosures and short sales will be considered when determining Fair Market Value
* Requirement that only “current use of property” be used in determining Fair Market Value
* Taxpayer must be given access to all data used in determining Fair Market Value
* Sales price establishes Fair Market Value for next tax year
Knowing that they could be overpaying on their property taxes by thousands of dollars, some homeowners hire a lawyer to handle the appeal process for them. However, this can be an expensive solution. We are positioned to give homeowners a leg up in the process. Through our simple online process, homeowners receive a custom appeal packet that is guaranteed for success or we give you your money back.
Are the rules for filing an appeal in your county fair? Should your county be revising the rules the way Georgia is?