Should you appeal your home’s tax assessment

After I received a report about improperly paid taxes from escrow, I investigated another area. Should you appeal your tax assessment? With home prices dropping as much as 21 percent many people are doing just that. Get your realtor to compare your home to those in the neighborhood.

The first thing homeowners should do when they receive their tax assessments is find the line listing taxable value and double it. This depends on where you live, but you get the idea.

If that figure is about what the home would sell for in today’s market, an assessment appeal is unlikely to reduce the tax bill, said David Nykanen, a real estate attorney with Steinhardt Pesick & Cohen in Birmingham who specializes in property tax appeals. If it isn’t, they may have grounds for an appeal.

“People often confuse ‘I’m paying too much in taxes’ with ‘I’m over assessed,’ ” Nykanen said. “If your property is properly assessed, then your argument is really with the millage rate and not the assessment.”

In some cases you might consider a professional appraiser, but appealing the tax bill is often done by the homeowner without additional help. To gain solid evidence for your case a ‘comp’ from a realtor and professional appraisal is sometimes needed, but only when the tax board is in severe denial.

The impact of reduced tax revenue will been seen in communities across the nation.

As it relates to Saxon Mortgage Servicing, the issue will be getting the taxes and escrow adjusted correctly. If saxon cannot get it right just send us your report, and we will monitor the situation.