Commercial and residential real estate may have very different uses, but the one thing that both homeowners and business owners can agree on is that property tax bills are too high. And every year, each has the right to fight that bill.
Cannot usually fight the rate
Depending on the nature of the property (homestead vs. rental property, etc.) and the owner (elderly, disabled veteran, etc.), arguing over the tax rate is generally not allowed. Of course, the county tax assessor can explain who can get a rate reprieve, but these are granted with approved paperwork. No appeal process is required.
Fighting the value
If you do not qualify for a rate reprieve, you can fight the New York State or Pennsylvania value, assuming you do not agree with the county tax assessor. This means that if you think your property’s actual value is less, equalized taxable value is less or your property has some lesser special value, appealing your tax assessment can save you money. Why? Because if that value goes down, the taxes owed go down.
How do I fight the county tax assessor value?
When you receive your yearly tax assessment, on that document, there is some appeal language. It can be a reference to an online account, an included appeal notice letter with an envelope or something else. Regardless, follow the instructions, and follow up with the county tax assessor to make sure they know you are appealing and that they received your appeal request. Certified mail and confirmation can ensure your appeal is recognized and a date is set.
How do I know a date has been set?
Normally, you can call the New York State or Pennsylvania county tax assessor to get your hearing date and time, but you will also receive an appeal notice that contains this information. That appeal notice will also include how to present your evidence, the number of copies to bring, etc. Follow these like they are commandments. If you fail to provide evidence on what they require, that evidence may be excluded, which could kill your property tax appeal.
What can I use to prove my value?
This really depends on what you are trying to prove. However, generally, photos, repair cost estimates, witnesses, appraisals (with the appraiser present), etc., are all good ways to prove your New York State or Pennsylvania value. And, of course, like any other legal proceeding, you can always hire an attorney to represent you instead of fighting it yourself.