Whenever you can appeal, do it!

2 Replies

Just wanted to share a small success story regarding property taxes. We should all celebrate even the small victories and share our stories because you never know how it could help or inspire others.

Fairly recently, we received property tax bills for our Maryland properties. Everything looked about average and we paid them almost immediately. Not long after that, we received a letter saying something about there being an error and to expect a new updated bill or refund. We figured we might be in for a refund, which we did receive some. But on one particular property, we received a bill for almost the full amount of the original tax bill, and it was only in relation to the sewer portion! 

In the past, we've had water issues with this property that caused that part of the tax bill to go up for the year. But it had been resolved for at least 2 years now. I called the office to question it and she said it could be appealed. She simply put it in for review and if they still denied it, we could then go a more formal route of appealing. I admit I was slightly bothered by it because it was a lot of money for the sewer portion and how many more years would this go on? 

Thankfully, a month later, we received a response in the mail from them and it was a refund! A small refund, but still! Whew! So glad we don't have to try and battle the county/city over this! Time for a drink!

So remember, always reach out to your local professionals and government offices with questions. Sometimes they can be more helpful than you know or expect! Always ask why. Appeal things when you disagree. Things might just work out in your favor.

Happy investing!

To add on- here in Peoria, we've had a series of municipal issues hit our city's budget, as well as the overall economic health of our community (the city is short $9M for its budget and Caterpillar- the area's biggest employer- announced its moving the world headquarters up to Chicago).  As such, those people trying to sell their homes are not seeing any movement at the pre-news prices.  And those that sell are either discounted if higher end, or have a blue collar target market.

Backstory now done, let me point out the benefit to the buy-and-hold'ers out there that have seen more challenging economic headwinds in their investment markets.

Because the areas homes are selling for less, this is grounds for a re-assessment of value for the purpose of tax adjustment.  It is amazing how few people do this, but not doing so is just volunteering to pay more to the community bucket than our lawmakers deemed proper for being good civic-participating individuals and business-persons.

So if you only see a slight depression in your local investment market, I'd encourage everyone to get re-assessed, or at least appeal your current tax amount.  The automatic reassessment is typically every couple of years.  So if the market picks back up, you'll have a tax break until the reassessment occurs.  Or if the market remains slow, at least you're paying only your "fair share."

Thanks for sharing this success story. I'm actually going to close on a property tomorrow and first on my "to do" list is to appeal the taxes on the property because my purchase price and appraisal price is lower than the city's assessed value.  It's good to know that someone can take on the city and actually win.

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