PROPERTY TAX DISPUTES
Every year property appraisers send out notices of proposed property taxes advising all taxpayers of the proposed assessment on their properties. Very often landowners blindly pay this amount without stopping to consider whether the tax bill was accurately and properly considered. It is crucial for landowners to critically review any notices pertaining to property tax assessment to determine whether the assessment is fair and correct, as the mailing of certain notices commences a very short window in which a tax appeal must be filed. Very often property tax assessment notices are inflated to require payment of more taxes than should be assessed, many times through no fault of the government other than failing to consider a key fact which would reduce the overstated value of the land assessed. Our property tax litigation lawyers assist landowners with understanding whether the property taxes assessed were fair and challenging the assessment of those taxes that are unfair. Our attorneys are adept at finding ways to save taxpayers money, both now and every year that their property is assessed moving forward. We have a very specific formula that we employ in analyzing claims to advance landowner challenges only when it is cost-effective to do so.
The government’s assessed value of your real estate should equal what the property would easily sell for in an arms-length transaction between a willing buyer and seller (Market Value). As often occurs, the true number that the local real estate market will bear is a lower number than what the county property appraiser’s value lists. Yet, real property is not impervious to natural variables that diminish value. If the property has been affected by a diminution in value caused by declining prices and market conditions, detrimental conditions (i.e. cracked slab, landslide, construction defects, condemnation, environmental problems, etc.), or other causes, the property owner should consider filing an appeal. Property tax appeals can be filed on any real estate including a home, ranch, vacant land, apartment building, commercial, industrial, or special use property. For commercial property tax appeals, our firm has represented clients in construction, retail, agricultural, industrial, manufacturing and distribution, healthcare, community associations, multi-family residential, professional services, hospitality and entertainment, financial services, and many other sectors.
- As a property owner, you have the right to appeal:
- The property appraiser’s assessment of your property’s value;
- A denial of your application for an exemption such as homestead, veterans, or senior citizen;
- A denial of your application for property classification such as agricultural or historic; and/or
- A denial of your application for tax deferral.
Our attorneys do our best to resolve property tax disputes through informal channels, presenting your case in a result-oriented, economical manner. If those efforts are ineffective, our litigators are prepared to challenge any and all property tax related issues through all means available, including but not limited to, local administrative proceedings, statewide administrative proceedings and Circuit Court actions. Beyond the immediate issue, our legal team is prepared to render counsel on tax avoidance and mitigation strategies to ensure your rights are preserved for the long-term.
As a taxpayer, it is prudent for landowners to always make it an annual practice of comparing their assessed value with the fair market value of their property. Reducing property tax assessments through appeal is not an easy task though. After all, the taxing authorities are hungrier for revenue each year, and consequently tax assessors are under increasing pressure to keep the tax rolls at the highest possible level to keep the funds rolling in. Nevertheless, if you feel strongly that your property has been over-assessed, you can do something about it rather than simply accepting it as part of the downside of property ownership.
If the property appraiser’s value is incorrect, we will robustly search for a way to provide meaningful data to properly validate the market value of the property, while concurrently endeavoring to expose inaccuracies in the property appraiser’s proposed assessed value. It is very important to have skilled legal counsel to assist you in an attempt to obtain a reduction of your tax assessment. The property appraiser will present facts which they believe substantiate their appraisal. We can often anticipate these arguments and assist you with presenting evidence negating the appraisal.
Landowners who believe their property tax bill is too high should act as soon as they discover a potential problem with their assessed value. Time is of the essence as appeals are only heard for a limited time each year, and Circuit Court challenges have limitations on time frames. If there is any doubt whether your property has been over-assessed, we encourage you to contact us to evaluate your rights.