UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Are DC Homeowners Seeing Their Tax Assessments Increase?

by Mark Wellborn


In this week’s installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader who bought a foreclosure in 2009 and saw the assessed value increase significantly this year wonders if other DC homeowners have experienced similar increases.

I bought a foreclosure in the H Street area in October of 2009 and the assessed value on the property tax bill I received for this fiscal year is $100,000 more than I paid for it. I’m curious if other readers have had similar experiences, or whether they’ve gone through the appeals process. I’ve filled out the form and am beginning the process, but I’m sure many others are in a similar situation with the wild fluctuations in home values.

Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_are_dc_homeowners_seeing_their_tax_assessments_increa/1852


  1. wdc said at 12:27 pm on Tuesday March 9, 2010:

    properties near H Street on both the Capitol Hill and the north sides have been and will keep getting more valuable.  If this guy bought a foreclosure, he probably got it below the assessed value or market value at the time though, so the question is what was the change in assessment from year to year.  The good news about the higher assessment is that someone thinks your house is worth more.  I’ve been following the market on houses 1-3 blocks south of H for the past few months.  Properties in that area are FLYING off the market within days of listing—both nicely renovated ones between 600 and 750 and fixxer uppers that haven’t been renovated, but are being purchased for the purpose.

  1. JJ said at 1:03 pm on Tuesday March 9, 2010:

    You should check the comps of some of the recent houses sold in your area. If the tax assessed value is more than what houses are going for you should definitely appeal the tax assessment. I live near H Street (bought in 2007) and DC’s tax office hit me with $100,000 increase within a year after I bought the place (right during the worst of the housing devaluation).

    In my opinion, the DC tax office is desperate for revenue and they are trying to hit buyers in this area with ridiculous assessments to try and recoup the property devaluation losses they are taking elsewhere (they hope that you will just pay it and not contest it).

    I challenged my assessment by taking comp. listings of houses for sale within .5 miles of my house. Ultimately, I got them to completely erase the increase and actually reduce the assessment below their previous year’s assessment. So I’m actually paying less property taxes now than I did last year. I’ve found that you have to fight DC at every turn…

  1. Ben said at 2:30 pm on Tuesday March 9, 2010:

    My partner and I bought a condo unit in Mount Vernon Square in June ‘09(not a foreclosure, however)—it had sat on the market for a good 90 days before we bought it for $150,000 less than the current tax assessed value.

    Not wanting to pay tax on the amount that DC claimed it was worth, we appealed the assessment and was denied—they said we bought way under the market value and questioned whether it was an arms length agreement.

    It was a six month process to get this information from them. Then we get the 2011 tax assessment in the mail the other day reflecting a tax assessment that was, lo and behold, $150K lower than the previous year. So, yeah, good experience…

  1. gina said at 3:24 pm on Tuesday March 9, 2010:

    Bought a studio in Cleveland Park as a short sale.  Assessment is just a few K over what I paid and way lower than my appraisal.  Interesting.

  1. jj said at 12:15 pm on Wednesday March 10, 2010:

    assessment for 2010 and 2011 remained exactly the same, although many condos we had looked at prior to purchase had decreasing assessments when comparing 2009 and 2010 (proposed at that point). to combat declining assessments, the district will (as all jurisdictions will) likely increase the tax rate to get back to previous income levels.

  1. Janson said at 12:59 pm on Wednesday March 10, 2010:

    When I bought in Dupont two years ago the assessment was $70,000 above what I paid. I appealed very thoroughly both with comps and with documentation of the arms-length transaction. And the appeal was granted. Last year, there was no change, but this year my assessment went down 4.3%. I had planned to appeal thinking prices had gone down more than that, but when I did a pretty thorough review of the comps, the assessment seemed extremely (surprisingly) accurate so I couldn’t bring myself to appeal.

    One thing to point out is that the initial assessments are generated by a very complex but completely automated process. The first level appeal is just a notification to the city that you would like a human to look into your case. The appeal just gives them solid leads for a revision to the assessment. I don’t think the first level appeal should be approached as adversarial in any way. Help the assessor refine the assessment quickly and accurately, and I think you will have good luck.

    Another point, the city comptroller does an audit of every year’s assessment each year comparing assessments to subsequent actual arm’s length transactions. It’s an interesting read, and it’s impressive how accurate the assessments really are. It’s so accurate that if I wanted to sell my unit in 30 days, I’d probably go with the assessed value….

  1. Citi said at 2:41 pm on Wednesday March 10, 2010:

    I recently recieved my 2011 assenssment for my 3 bed, 3 bath condo near Logan Circle and was suprised by a 235K decrease from the 2010 assessment, although I do personally feel the 2010 assessment of over 800K was ridiculously high. I purchased the condo as a foreclosure less than a year ago, for much less than even the 2011 assessment.

  1. PetworthRes said at 9:59 pm on Wednesday March 10, 2010:

    The assessed value of my house went down in the last year, by about 10%. I thought it was an adjustment for the market in the area - sales prices have gone down.

    If your value went up, is there a clear reason why - did you get a permit for any major renovations in the house? If not, I think you could appeal the new assessment. Good luck!

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