It’s that time of year when DC homeowners receive property tax assessments in the mail. So what’s a homeowner to do if they disagree with the assessed value of their home?
First things first, it’s worth pointing out that you’ll be fighting an uphill battle, which we’ll talk about in-depth later this week. For now, though, here are the steps you’ll need to take to go about filing an appeal:
1. Get started right away. Your appeal must be filed on or before April 1, according to the DC Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR). New owners of property can file with the form here and must file within 45 days of receiving their assessment. Others can file their appeal electronically here.
2. Call your assessor. The contact information for the person who assessed your property should be listed on the assessment that came in the mail. You can call and get an idea of why the home was assessed at the value on the assessment and why it might have changed from a previous year. Once you know what the basis for the decision was, you can tailor your hunt for evidence. The government’s assessment incorporates data from sales, construction permits, field visits and existing land values.
3. Gather your evidence. OTR warns that you should be specific in your appeal and have hard evidence to back up your claims: “Please note that a successful appeal requires meaningful and accurate supporting information. Simply offering an opinion with no factual basis will probably not result in a reduced assessment.” Starting with strong evidence will put you on a better footing throughout the appeals process.
4. File a first-level appeal. You can claim that the assessment is off based on the home’s estimated market value (a recent appraisal, for example, would be evidence); equalization (other, similar properties); classification (the current use of the property); and property damage or condition. You can choose a written, phone or in-person hearing with OTR.
5. Appeal to the Real Property Tax Appeals Commission. Within 45 days of having a first-level appeal denied, you can appeal the assessment to the Real Property Tax Appeals Commission (RPTAC).
6. Appeal to the DC Superior Court. As a last resort, property owners can appeal RPTAC’s decision to the DC Superior Court.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_to_appeal_a_property_tax_assessment_in_dc/9589
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