Has your latest Gallatin County property tax assessment notice given you quite a shock? You are not alone. Most property owners often see a significant increase in their property tax bills because of home value increases, boundary shifts, and other changes. The good thing is that you can do something when you get an unfair property assessment increase. A significant increase, especially one that has a huge discrepancy from other properties in your area, may give you grounds for objecting to it.
While objecting to a property assessment increase seems scary, it is actually common. Around 20 to 40% of property owners have been able to lower their property tax bills by objecting to their property assessment. This has saved them a lot of money. The following are tips on how to object to a property assessment increase and possibly lower your property tax bill for the coming year.
Step 1: Gather Evidence
If you believe your tax assessment has increased by mistake, get in touch with your tax assessor immediately so they can explain how they determined your property’s value. The increase could just be from the assessor’s error like inputting the incorrect square footage or the wrong number of bedrooms. If the reason for the increase cannot be identified immediately, you might have to do more research. Comparing your property to similar ones that have recently been sold in your area can be helpful. If they sold for a lower price than your property assessment, that could be solid grounds for your objection. Be sure to check your local laws and regulations.
Step 2: Look Up the Appeals Process
The process of objecting to a property assessment could differ from county to county. For that reason, you’ll need to be sure to look up the appeals procedure for your specific location. This information can easily be found on the county website or the tax assessor’s website. From these sites, you could download the forms you need to file an appeal. Pay particular attention to dates or timeframes. Most places give you 90 days to file an appeal, although in other places it can be as low as 30 days. Some locations also only accept appeals within a specific period of time. Make sure you use your time efficiently and follow the procedures to the letter to increase your chances of success.
Step 3: File and Argue Your Case
As soon as your documents -including your evidence- are prepared, you can file your appeal with the county. Again, make sure you follow everything on the county or tax assessor’s website. Pay the filing fee through an approved method, too. You should then receive a notification on the schedule of the hearing on your appeal. You have to attend the hearing, or else send a representative if you cannot appear personally. If you don’t show up for the hearing, your appeal won’t be considered. Prepare all your documents and copies before the hearing. You will have your chance to argue your case and may successfully have your property assessment adjusted to reflect the current value of your property.
Objecting to your property assessment increase can help rental property owners like you keep expenses under control. However, it can take a lot of your time, and there are many steps to be followed precisely to increase your chances of success. If you need the assistance of Gallatin County property management professionals to help maximize your rental income, call Real Property Management Bozeman. We offer many valuable services to rental property owners like you that can help you keep your costs down and the rental income flowing in. Contact us online or call 406-586-2226 today!
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