Property appraiser assessments are out, check if you should appeal

Aug 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Blog, Real Estate, Taxes

Bradenton – Every year in August the property appraiser’s office is mailing out the annual tax assessment (TRIM notice) which is the basis for your real estate taxes. If you haven’t received the TRIM notice yet, you can already check the new values online at www.manateepao.com 

Reducing your property tax assessment is not an easy task.  After all the taxing authorities are hungrier for revenue each year and consequently property appraisers are under increasing pressure to keep the tax rolls at the highest possible level to keep the funds rolling in.  However if you feel strongly that your property has been over-assessed and the government spending hike is rediculous, you can do something about it rather than simply accepting it as part of the downside of property ownership.  It is possible to put together a winning case for a tax appeal and the key is presenting all the information so it points in the same direction.

Property tax hikes nationwide

Taxpayers may hastily look at the change in value from one year to the next and if they don’t see a significant increase in their assessment then they conclude it’s fair and they shouldn’t bother to further evaluate it let alone consider contesting it.  However one should always make a practice of comparing their assessed value with the fair market value of their property. 

Note that if in fact the assessor’s value is off, it may better serve the needs within that jurisdiction to determine any over-assessments sooner rather than later as this could mean having to refund taxpayer money after it has already been dispersed.  If a refund is eventually determined to be due to a taxpayer, the municipality could end up shouldering the burden of paying the refund if the funds have already been transferred within the county or on to the school district.  By correcting and reducing the assessed value prior to collecting the funds, the municipality could then avoid the cost of having to issue a refund where it may have already disbursed funds it no longer directly benefits from, thus resulting in no real gain to that municipality.

A well timed, well presented appeal can result in significant long term benefits to a property owner even after the market has recovered and property values are on the rise because once the assessed value is brought down, this now becomes the new basis for all future increases.  Beginning from a new more realistic starting point means that future increases will likely be easier to withstand.  

Frank Miller has paid higher property taxes almost each year since he purchased his home in City of Anna Maria, Florida, more than a decade ago. In 2009, with the value of his house sliding, he decided to do something about it. There are national services, including LowerMyAssessment.com, whose services are available in many states and start at about $40 for a basic home valuation. But homeowners can do the work themselves and submit an appeal for the cost of their local filing fees with the help of a good Realtor.

Here in Florida in order to appeal a tax assessment, a taxpayer needs to file form DR-465 (petition for review of tax assesment) available from your the State of Florida within approx. 25 days of the date when the assessment notices are mailed out (check for exact dates). For Manatee county you can get the forms and information here: http://www.manateepao.com/Forms/HtmlFrame.aspx?mode=Content/Forms/Forms_m.htm 

You have to mail the form together with a $15 filing fee to your local Value Adjustment Board. Before mailing anything you need to build your case. It is the taxpayer’s burden to show that the valuation is incorrect. So the taxpayer needs to find compareable properties which show his home to be overassessed. It is wise to consult a Realtor to get the necessary compareables (a courtesy for our clients). In addition as real estate taxes are paid in arrears, only sales before Jan 1st of that year (for 2010, it is Jan 1st 2010) count.

We belive it’s the taxpayers who know best how to spend their money not the government.

Weiss International Realty
3605 Riverview Blvd.
Bradenton, FL 34205
(941) 866 1666
www.weissinternational.com

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