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Tax Planning

How to Appeal Property Taxes

If you think you're paying too much, take these steps.

Home values are up, and that may mean your property taxes have gone up, too. But what if you believe they’re too high? You may have grounds for an appeal, and in most cases, you can do it yourself.

SEE ALSO: 7 Steps to Lower Your Property Tax Bill

Step 1

First, look for errors that could be unfairly inflating the value of your home. Ask your local assessor’s office for a property record card, which lists the factors used to come up with your assessment. This information may be available online. Fixing obvious mistakes such as incorrect square footage or the wrong number of bathrooms could lower your property value.

Step 2

Next, check out tax bills for similar properties in your neighborhood. This is public information and may also be available online. Compare your home with others in your tax classification, which usually lumps together homes of similar size and age. If your assessment is much higher than the assessment for other homes in your group, you could have a good shot at an appeal.

Step 3

Finally, make sure you’ve been given all of the tax breaks you deserve. Most states offer exemptions, lower tax rates or reduced assessment ratios for certain taxpayers, such as primary homeowners, senior citizens, or veterans. Check your state’s department of taxation Web site for more information. You can also find more information on appealing a property tax bill at, the Web site for the National Taxpayers Union.

Looking for more ways to lower your tax bill? Start by making sure that you aren't missing out on the most common overlooked tax deductions.