Property Tax Relief

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The Property Tax Doctor can help the average homeowner win his rightful property tax relief. Under the common level adjustment, described above, the New Jersey's statutory standard for an acceptable property tax assessment margin of error in its calculation is 15%. In New Jersey where the average homeowner in 2006 paid about $5,000 per year in property taxes that amounts to an acceptable error of $750 in the propertytax bill. If we administered our Federal Tax bill with that 15% margin of error we would have a taxpayer revolt.

Most appraisal districts give minimal consideration to requests for adjustments based on deferred maintenance, unless the property owner provides repair costs from independent contractors. There are some exceptions where a cooperative informal appraiser or sympathetic ARB will take an owner's estimate of deferred maintenance and make adjustments based on those costs. Most appraisers and ARB members are much more inclined to make adjustments if third-party cost estimates are provided. In addition, the appraisers and many ARB members are inclined to only deduct a portion of the total cost using the argument, "we've been giving a replacement reserve allowance for this item for the past years and it'd be double-dipping to deduct the whole value off it in the current year." While this is an incorrect appraisal argument, it does tend to be the practice at many appraisal districts. The reality is, the cost of curing deferred maintenance is deducted from the offer by a prospective buyer.


After hearing the evidence, the ARB members will confer and make a decision. This decision is not subject to negotiation and they will not revise the decision if further evidence is presented. When this decision is announced, the hearing is effectively over. The ARB will send a letter two to four weeks later summarizing their decision and notifying the owner of a 45 day limitation from the date receipt of the ARB decision to either request binding arbitration or file a judicial appeal.

With property taxes making up such a large percentage of operating expense, a commercial property owner I know was recently pleased when his consultant informed him that the company saved over $123,000 in property taxes. Some owners will realize less savings than those, but every little bit helps your bottom line.

There are different reasons for paying your taxes right away, every situation is different. There may be reasons for waiting until the following year. Deciding when to pay your taxes may be determined by giving consideration to your current tax situation and liability.

If you are in a higher tax bracket in 2008 than you are in 2007, you may want to wait and pay your property taxes in January of 2008. This will help lower your total tax liability in 2008. If you are in a higher tax bracket for 2007 and expect to drop into a lower tax bracket in 2008.

Real estate appraisers can assess property values on comparative sales reports of other properties in the area which have sold within the previous six months. Other factors may include the historical value of the real estate or potential value if the property is used to generate income through house flipping, rental, lease-to-own, or seller carry back trust deeds.

Whenever you own a piece of land, you will be taxed for it. Whether it is commercial property or residential property, there is still a tax to pay, whether it is for a village, town, city, county, or state. Most residential private property taxes are handled on the local level, going no higher than the county. Depending on the nature of the business, it may be handled by a variety of entities, including state and federal agencies. Each specific area and state has its own way of levying property taxes.

Consider an appeal for a $150,000 house where the property taxes are reduced by 5%. This would reduce the assessed value by $7,500 and the property taxes by $225, based on a 3% tax rate. Since the typical appeal hearing takes less than an hour, these are meaningful savings for the time involved. Regularly appealing your property taxes will minimize the value, so you are assessed for less than most of your neighbors. Most of the property tax appeals are resolved at the informal hearing, which is the first step in the process.

On a property tax appeal you can only debate the fair market value of your property. You cannot argue the tax rate or the assessment ratio (unless they made a mistake and recorded your property in the wrong category). But again, you can only argue the assessors opinion of your properties value. Keep in mind that most cities assessors are over worked and or under qualified, so they very often make outright mistakes. If you know of other similar properties in your area that sold for less than what they have recorded your property at, than you most likely have a case and could save a lot of money.

If you fail to pay the property tax of a mortgaged home, your lender will consider it as a default on your home loan. This can be used as a basis to start foreclosure proceedings. Your home will be sold and the money will be used to pay the tax debts.

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