Assessed Value and Property Tax Refunds

Step-by-step Property Tax Appeal Guide

Property tax appeal professional itemized work book, forms and video!

Assessment notices get mailed out and homeowners get notified of their share of the overall budget for governing their community. When property owners disagree with the appraised value of their property, they have the right to appeal and petition for a property tax refund.

From city hall to rural America, property tax revenue would be falling due to the decrease in home valuation. Property tax foreclosures are setting records. Asking for new taxes on all properties in order to compensate for this loss in revenue mitigates the deficit; the tax bite increases on a smaller assessment, thereby, balancing the budget.


Your assessment should reflect an accurate market value of your property. An assessment is based on the market value of a property as it would sell under normal conditions. That value is determined by recent sales of an equally comparable home in a similar location.

You would be looking for a similar square foot home, in a similar or same neighborhood, with similar age when build, similar view, similar quality of construction and design, similar garage, deck, patio, similar heating system, energy efficiency, condition of roof, remodeled kitchens or other features and so on.

The “curb appeal” of a home can be heavily adjusted for. Other factors such as location to desirable school district or neighborhood are a large factor.

Naturally, it would be almost impossible to find a home exactly similar to yours unless your home was a cookie-cutter condo. To make comparable homes which recently sold equivalent to your home, adjustments need to be made for these differences.

A sales comparison approach to valuation for residential property is the primary method for determining property’s market value. By examining at least three recently sold properties in a similar neighborhood of comparable style, size and construction quality, one can determine market value.


Local assessor’s offices can provide the sales history of houses within their jurisdiction. Some assessors provide lists of recent sales. Also, many local newspapers provide a good source of real estate sales; they often have quarterly sales reports in the business section of the paper.

However, the absolute best method to find comparative sales is to visit your local real estate office and ask for some comparable data from their sold listings.

Real estate brokers and agents will be glad to photocopy a number of comparable MLS (multiple listing service) sales reports on these sold properties and hand them over to your. They want to create a favorable impression so, in the future, if you want to sell your home or upgrade, you’ll do it with them.

What is nice about the MLS data is that it contains pictures and all the positive upgrades and selling features of that house. This data is the ammunition you need for you do make adjustments to your comparables.

For instance, if the home had a more desirable upgraded kitchen with granite countertops, new cabinets and kitchen lighting, new stainless steel appliance a large adjustment may be possible if your home lacks such features. This adjusts the price of your home lower since your home lacks this amenity.

To estimate market value, one needs to determine how the differences between the subject property (your property) and the comparable properties relate to the comparable properties sold price.

Using a grid and listing those categories of adjustments allows one to make a comprehensible presentation of the facts. For those categories where the comparable is identical to the subject property, no adjustments are necessary. For those categories where there are differences, the difference in value is entered.

By adding and deducting these adjustments to the comparable sales, an adjusted sales price is arrived at for each sale as compared to the subject property (your property).

You’ll want to weigh those properties that are most similar to yours higher than those who are not similar. A common mistake is to overlook this and give equal weight to properties that have been adjusted heavily that lie out on the fringe of similarity to your home. Again, only those sales that are most similar to the subject property should be given the most weight.

Assessed Value

Property Tax Help Depends On Your Vigilance

Lower An Excessive Property Tax By Filing An Appeal
Appeal An Unfair Assessment By Providing Compelling Evidence
Assessment Creep Review Yearly Prevents Erroneous Assessments From Sticking
Unravel What Your Assessor Thinks Your Homes Market Vaule Should Be By Dividing Assessed Value by Sales Ratio


Blanket assessments are carried out by municipalities from time to time. These blanket assessments are placed out on a bid and large tracts of ratable are assessed, often hastily since a minimal amount and time is allocated for each appraisal and those hired to do the appraisals are working under the license of the winning bidder; errors creep in.

Once the market value of a property is determined, the assessor’s applies the municipal wide level of assessments to the market values. This level of assessment of 100 percent takes place at the time of the blanket assessment. However community assessments will vary.

If the market value of a property is $300,000 and the community is assessed at 30 percent of market value, the assessment should be $90,000. The take away that should leap out is that assessment value is not equivalent to market value. Assessed value divided by sales ratio equals market value.


Many make the mistake and assume that a low assessment means that the governing body thinks their house is worth the assessed value they receive in the mail, when clearly it is not so. They think they pulled one over on the government, when instead it might be they who had one pulled over on them.

The only way to know what the assessor thinks your home is worth is to do the math. Then, one needs to look over a few comparable recent sales to see if you can ballpark a value on your home just to make sure you’re now overpaying your fair share.


If one feels that their property is over assessed, the proactive stance to take would be to arrange for a meeting with the property tax assessor. The tax assessor had the authority to lower your property tax on the spot. The only rub is that when annual assessments go out, the assessors phone rings off the hook and their time is limited. It might not be uncommon to get the “bums rush” at some municipalities since some of these public officials take on an arrogant demur and believe their job is to maintain the aggregate base in favor of taking the necessary time to legislate fairness.

If no satisfaction for a property tax refund is found at the assessor’s level, the municipal court of appeals is the next step. A small filing fee, and you’ll have secured your chance to explain your assessment appeal to a panel of generally 3 or 4 people valuation representatives. If you do not get satisfaction at this level, the final level is the State Court of Appeals.

If for some reason you missed the deadline, you can negotiate with the tax assessor about your assessment throughout the year. After the onslaught of appeals are over, there calendar’s are clean; they’ll have a lot of time on their hands and you’ll likely have a much better reception and stand a better chance for getting a reduction. If you are granted an assessment reduction, it will not go into effect until the following year, but better late than never.

Step-by-step property tax appeal guide


Step-by-step commercial property tax appeal guide

Commercial Property Tax Reduction


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