Tax Increases, Decreases & Disagreements
Causes of Tax Increases / Decreases
Basically, three variables must interact to decrease or increase your property taxes:
- The combined budgets of the taxing authorities
- The total value of all the property in the taxing unit
- The value of your property
Your taxes increase if:
- The budgets increase and the value of all properties remain the same.
- The budgets and value of property in the entire government unit remain the same, but the value of the individual’s property increases.
- The budgets and value of the individual’s property remain the same, but the value of the property in the entire government unit decreases.
Your taxes decrease if...
- The budgets decrease and the values of all properties remain the same.
- The budgets and value of property in the entire government unit remain the same, but the value of the individual’s property decreases.
- The budgets and value of the individual’s property remain the same, but the value of the property in the entire government unit increase.
Why You Might Pay Higher Taxes Than Your Neighbor
The value of a house depends on land size, square footage, type of construction, age, quality, location, story height, and condition, but that’s not all. Your neighbor’s property may be taxed by different taxing districts than you are. For instance, districts are often divided by highways. If your neighbor’s property is across the highway, it may be taxed by different districts than you are.
Also, credits and exemptions such as homestead, agricultural land, and military could make a difference.
Appealing the Assessed Value
Property owners who disagree with the assessor’s estimate of the market value of their property should ask themselves, "Could I sell this property for that amount today?" If the answer is yes, then the value is probably correct. However, every property owner has the right to appeal an assessment.
Property owners may appeal their initial assessments to local boards of review by filing a written protest between April 2 and April 30 of each year. These boards meet annually in May to consider the protests.
Reasons to Protest
In a reassessment year a property owner may protest an assessment for one or more of the following reasons:
- The assessment is not comparable to others with similar properties.
- The property is assessed at more than its actual value.
- The property is exempt from taxation.
- There is an error in the assessment.
- The assessment is fraudulent.
A property owner may appeal the protest to the Property Assessment Appeal Board, if not satisfied with the board of review's decision. If dissatisfied with a Property Assessment Appeal Board decision, the decision may then be appealed to the district court. In the alternative, property owners may still file appeals directly with the district court and forgo filing with the Property Assessment Appeal Board. Contact your assessor's office for more information.