Due to plummeting home values and infrequent tax assessments, many home owners across the nation are finding themselves frustrated and annoyed by their property tax bills this year. Though the nation is suffering from a recession, many home owners’ property tax appeals are way up this year; in fact, appeals have been skyrocketing in recent years, since the beginning of the recession. In some areas of the country, appeals over assessments are 250% of what they were pre-recession.
A big part of the problem is that property taxes are based on home value assessments that are no longer valid. Property values are only assessed every few years usually; sometimes cities go over a decade before reassessing values. Due to the fact that the nation has been in a recession now for a few years, most home owners’ property tax rates are based on pre-bubble popping values. Experts estimate that it generally takes about three years for housing value changes to show up as a change in home prices.
Another problem for home owners paying high property taxes is that their tax bill isn’t always indicative of the price of their home anyways. Some municipalities bill residents based on how much money the city needs to bring in yearly; so, since the country is in a recession and many cities are struggling with their budgets, some property tax bills have actually been higher to offset that.
Regardless of the reasons for an increase in property taxes, home owners are angry and confused. When the entire country has been in a recession for a few years now�”and still is�”it’s hard to see the justification that any municipality could offer for an increase in assessed home values; many home owners feel like their municipal governments are participating in little more than a cash grab. While many of these home owners are likely to be appealing their tax hikes as well, it’s difficult to see how easily changes might be awarded when the rates are less tied to the value of the home.
If you think that your property tax bill is too high this year, there are many lawyers who are taking on a lot of business with property tax appeals. Home owners can fight their property tax bill on their own, of course; contact your local municipal government or town hall for information about how you can appeal your property taxes if you think that you’re being unfairly charged.