8 Steps to Appeal Your Property Tax Bill

Home values are rising across the country, which means many homeowners’ property taxes are now going up, too.

picture of homeowner using a calculator
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Many homeowners have seen their property values shoot up as the pandemic sparked a frenzied housing market. If you’re envisioning big proceeds when you sell your house, rising home prices are a cause for celebration.

But you may not feel like popping the champagne when you get your property tax bill. As home prices climb, property taxes follow suit. Your tax bill is determined by multiplying your home’s assessed value by the local tax rate.

Homeowners will see higher taxes in 2022 and beyond as localities reassess property values, although the pain should ease as price appreciation slows. Kiplinger expects housing demand to cool, with home prices lifting by 3% in 2022. And keep in mind that local tax rates affect your bill, too. If your municipality lowers rates to provide relief or stay within required levels, your bill may fall or show only a modest increase.

But if your property tax bill has increased significantly, you may have grounds for an appeal, particularly if the increase seems out of line with overall appreciation in your area.

Most jurisdictions give you 90 days after you receive a new assessment to appeal, although some close the appeals window after 30 days, says Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union. Some lawyers handle property tax appeals on a contingency basis, but most homeowners can appeal on their own, Sepp says.

Plenty of property owners challenge their assessments each year, and between 20% and 40% of them win lower assessments and lower property tax bills. The following steps will show you the way to success.

Lisa Gerstner
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Lisa has spent more than15 years with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and heads up the magazine’s annual rankings of the best banks, best rewards credit cards, and financial-services firms with the best customer service. She reports on a variety of other topics, too, from retirement to health care to money concerns for millennials. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.