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Success rate of property tax appeals.

More taxpayers across the nation are appealing their property assessments, and they are successfully lowering their home’s assessed value and tax liabilities.

One example is in the Las Vegas Nevada area, which is admittedly an area hard hit by price declines. Over 6,000 taxpayers in Clark County, which includes both residential and commercial property owners, filed appeals with their local assessor after they received a notice of value card in December. This is an increase from about 1,400 appeals received last year. Of the roughly 6,000 homeowners who filed appeals this time around, over 4,500, or 75%, received reductions to the assessed value of their home or property.

So not only is that about a 76% success rate for all the appeals that were filed, but the average reduction provided to homeowners was in the 30% to 40% range. Many homeowners have done this on their own, however those that used a professional had an even higher success rate.  Read how a property tax consultant may be able to help you even more.

The story is repeating itself around the nation. What is happening in Vegas is not staying in Vegas, and many local governments across the country are experiencing similar increases in challenges, and homeowners are having similar success rates.

Why the increase in property tax challenges and success rates?

There are certain areas of the country that reassess property values annually, however most only have the resources to do only a portion of their counties homes each year, according to the director of research for the National Association of Counties. So what this means is that many homeowners are still being billed on, and assessed home values that reflect what their prices were several years ago, and home prices have come down greatly since then.

Homeowners are watching the value of their house go down, and their property tax assessment is based on a two- or three-year-old value. So they are doing something about it, and many are appealing the property tax bill. They are trying to save money.





The method used to asses a home is different by state and even local municipality. For example, the way homes are assessed in California is somewhat different then the rest of the country in that reappraisals for property tax purposes typically occur when a home is sold and properties change owners or when substantial improvements in the home have been made. However, in Los Angeles County, the local assessor's office has completed a proactive review of property assessed values and the work is based on market trends in the area, so this represents some of the tactics by state or city.

For the Los Angeles market, the end result is that a review of about 475,000 homes which were bought between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2008 resulted in lower property tax assessments on 334,000 single-family residences and condo units, according to a release from LA County. So about 70% of homes in the area had their property tax bills lowered. The new assessed values reflected an average of $1,400 in property bill tax savings for single-family homes and an average savings of $1,100 for condo units, the release said.

What to do to improve your chances of success

Here are some tips:

  • You should start with the county assessor's office. In some municipalities around the nation, you may be able to appeal your property tax bill online, while others might require a trip to the local assessor's office. There are some areas that might require a physical inspection of the property, and parts of the country might rely on computer models. Start with the assessors office to learn more.
  • Research what homes in the neighborhood have recently sold for. Prices of comparable homes that have sold within the last year may be one of the most important steps to take. You can usually find this information online. Or individuals can get assistance from a local real estate agent, or the assessors office will have it.



By Jon McNamara

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