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Appealing Your Property Taxes

Here’s a dilemma many of us in Union County are facing – our homes aren’t worth what they were worth when we bought them, and yet we’re still paying taxes based upon what our home used to be worth. If you think you’re being taxed unfairly, here’s how to appeal your assessment.

Property taxes can’t be appealed but your property’s assessment may be if you can prove that your assessed value is unreasonable compared to the home’s market value.

Here are the steps to appeal your tax assessment:

1. Inquire into your district’s average ratio for this year. Different municipalities use different formulas to calculate property taxes but all formulas are based upon assessed value. Some jurisdictions use a home’s actual market value, while others use a percentage of a property’s worth.

2. File on or before April 1st (May 1st if a municipal-wide reassessment has just been implemented).

3.  Hire your expert witnesses – anyone licensed as  a real estate appraiser can be an expert witness and can prepare an appraisal report. This expert witness must appear at your hearing to testify and be cross examined.

4. Provide multiple copies of the appraisal report – one for the tax assessor and one for each County Tax Board member. This must be done at least seven days  before the scheduled hearing. You may also provide credible evidence such as recent comparable sales of other properties of a similar type in your neighborhood. Sales ratio forms, called SR-1A’s, (available at the County Tax Board) and deeds (available at the County Clerk’s office) are public records and can be used to identify comparable sales and their significant characteristics. Your local Realtor ® can help you with this. Commercial property owners must also supply an income statement.

4. Public Hearing is conducted before the County Tax Board within 3 months of the filing deadline. The County Tax Board is made up of members appointed by the Governor. Homeowners and sole proprietorships can represent themselves but larger businesses must be represented by an attorney.

5. The Tax Board must determine all appeals within 3 months of the last day for filing appeals, although the Director of the Taxation Division may grant an extension.

6. You can appeal the judgment within 45 days.

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