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Understanding the Property Tax Appeals Process for Commercial Properties

Are you a commercial property owner who is looking for ways to reduce your property tax bill? If so, you may want to consider appealing your property taxes. Property taxes can be a significant expense, and appealing your assessment can help reduce this cost. 

One of the most important aspects of owning a business or commercial property is understanding the property tax appeals process. The process can be complicated and intimidating, but understanding the basics of the appeals process can help make it easier. Learning how to appeal your property taxes can help ensure you’re paying the lowest possible amount of taxes. 

Let’s explore the basics of the property tax appeals process and what you should know as a commercial property owner.

How to Appeal Your Commercial Property Taxes 

When appealing your property taxes it’s important to stay organized and informed throughout the entire process. Make sure to have all relevant documents such as current tax bills, appraisal reports or other documentation that supports your case.

Each state has its own rules when it comes to filing appeals. Make sure to research ahead of time so that you don’t miss any deadlines or overlook any important information needed during this process.

Before diving into the commercial property tax appeal process, it’s important to know what an assessment is and about the appraisal process.

What is an Assessment? 

An assessment is essentially a value assigned to a piece of real estate by a local government or taxing authority. This value is used to calculate how much you owe in taxes on that particular piece of real estate. The assessment should reflect the fair market value of your property. However, there are often discrepancies between what you think your property is worth and what it has been assessed for.

How Does The Appraisal Process Work?

Once an assessment has been determined, it’s time for the appraisal process to begin. During this stage, a qualified appraiser will visit the property and conduct an inspection before offering their opinion on its fair market value. This appraisal will then be compared against the assessed value in order to determine if there are any discrepancies that need to be addressed. If so, then you may have grounds for appealing your assessment and potentially reducing your tax bill.

  1. Preparing Your Case

The first step in appealing your property taxes is gathering evidence that supports your case. This could include documents such as recent appraisals or market analysis that demonstrate that the assessed value of your property is too high. Also consider researching similar properties in the area to get a better sense of what they are being taxed at. If yours is significantly higher than those properties, this could also be used as evidence in your case. Having solid evidence will go a long way towards helping you make your case for a lower assessment and tax bill.

  1. Filing Your Appeal

Once you have gathered all of the necessary information, you can file an appeal with your local taxing authority. It’s important to note that there are strict deadlines for filing appeals–typically within 30 or 60 days of receiving your tax bill. Be sure to check with your local taxing authority for specific dates. Once filed, the appeal will likely be scheduled for a hearing before an administrative board or court where both sides can make their arguments as to why the assessment should or should not be lowered.

  1. The Hearing Process

At the hearing, both sides will present their cases in front of the board or court and then answer questions from board members or judges regarding their arguments. Be sure to bring all documentation and witnesses with you who can support your argument that the assessed value is too high. This could include appraisers or market analysts. The board/court will then render its decision which may result in either no change in assessment (meaning no reduction in taxes) or a partial reduction or full reduction depending on how convincing they found each side’s argument.

  1. The Appeal Process

The first step in appealing your property taxes is to evaluate your assessment. Usually, a third-party appraiser will provide an independent opinion on the worth of your property, which can then be used in filing an appeal. Once you have obtained your appraisal, you can then make an appointment with the assessor’s office to discuss why you believe your assessment is too high. This meeting provides an opportunity for both parties to review evidence and negotiate a more accurate assessment.

If negotiations fail, then you can file a formal appeal with the local board of equalization (BOE). At this point, both sides present their cases before the BOE who makes a ruling based on their findings. If granted, this ruling will provide either a reduction or refund in taxes owed for that year. Keep in mind that even if your appeal is denied by one BOE, there are typically multiple levels of appeal available at both state and county levels.

Tips For Filing An Appeal

  • When filing an appeal, it’s important that you have all of your evidence organized and ready before submitting your paperwork. Gather any documents that support your claim such as photographs or past appraisals showing a lower estimated value than what was assessed by the local taxing authority. 
  • Make sure that you are familiar with all relevant laws and regulations related to appealing assessments as well as any deadlines associated with filing an appeal. These could vary depending on where you live and what type of appeal you are filing (such as residential vs commercial). 
  • Consider consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in real estate law in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly throughout the process.

A Guide to Understanding Commercial Property Tax Appeals  

Appealing property taxes can seem like a lengthy process, but having a clear understanding of what’s involved can make it less daunting than it might initially appear. By staying organized and thoroughly researching state laws surrounding property tax appeals,  business owners will be able to successfully negotiate more accurate assessments for their properties. 

Following these simple steps will help ensure that commercial properties receive fair assessments and tax rates each year. Prepare a strong case by gathering evidence such as appraisals and market research. File an appeal before the deadline and appear at hearings with supporting documents and witnesses. It’s also best practice to consult an expert during this process so they can advise you through every step until a resolution is reached.

Understanding and navigating through the property tax appeals process can be tricky but  following these steps can increase your chances of success when appealing commercial property taxes. With any luck, this may lead to reduced assessments and lower taxes for business owners like yourself!

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