How Do I Appeal My Assessed Real Estate Tax Value?

In North Carolina, state law requires that real estate be re-valued for property tax purposes at least once every eight years. Property owners are often shocked following tax revaluations because their property tax values often rise dramatically from a previous valuation (increases in value by 40% or more are not uncommon in some jurisdictions). When this occurs, taxpayers often ask "What can I do if I think my property has been over-valued by the tax assessor?"

First of all, you need to act quickly as soon as you discover a potential problem with your assessed value. You need to act quickly because appeals are only heard for a limited time each year. If you miss the deadline, you will most likely have to wait until the next year before the appeals process is opened up again for reviews.

So what can a taxpayer do to dispute a property tax valuation that seems unreasonable? You need to examine your property tax record and try to verify if the information used to value your property is correct. You may be able to identify something in the tax record data that is not accurate. If you can successfully document inaccurate information, you can get your property assessment corrected. *Please be aware, however, you have got to be very careful that any information you provide for appeal is not used against you. Assessors have been known to review property tax appeals and end up “raising” the property tax value as a result! That undoubtedly would be an unnerving result for most taxpayers.

An option for disenfranchised taxpayers is to hire their own independent professional real estate appraiser. A qualified State-Certified Real Estate Appraiser can provide an unbiased valuation of your property for this purpose. The tax assessor will give high regard to an appraisal prepared by a certified appraiser, who regularly performs real estate valuations. An appraisal prepared to dispute a tax assessed value can be reviewed to help the assessor determine if mistakes were made in the assessor’s property valuation. If you choose this route, make sure you deal with an appraiser who has at least 5 years of full-time experience as a real estate appraiser, is state-certified, and has done several appraisals specifically for this purpose before. Not all appraisers have expertise in this appraisal area, so be sure to inquire about an appraiser’s credentials before making a hiring decision.

*This article was written by Doug Watson, CREA. Doug is a NC State-Certified Residential Appraiser, #A3185. Doug is a former deputy tax assessor and has performed many appraisals for the purpose of appealing property tax assessed values. © 2009 Advantage Appraisals, Inc. (919) 362-7941 ph.

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