Property Tax Appeals and Protests

If you ever wondered how to enact a winning property tax appeal you’ll find your answer below in this article where all you’ll ever need to put figures and property tax appeal facts together, authoritatively and inexpensively, happen. Finally! Get a property tax guide that shows you with pinpoint accuracy how to value your home and show your municipal authorities just what they want to see. Show them the format that will ring the bell. Target the “right comparable adjustments” and you’ll get your appeal in the winners circle. And, it won’t cost much, especially compared to the “professionals.”

Many homeowners use professional representation. I speak to these folks at hearings and ask what it costs to appeal. I get a lot of answers, but the average cost for a lawyer in my state was around $250 an hour that they (the attorney and you) had to be present at municipal hearings or tax court. You don’t know when your case is heard. It could be morning or afternoon … the attorney’s meter is running.

The initial appraisals (done by a professional appraiser) cost about $400 (the cheapest they could find was $390) plus $350 for their appraiser showing up to testify for up to 4 hours (anything over a half-day is extra). Still others scour the magazines and internet for any hint they can find on how to crunch the numbers and technique.

Your local government uses what is called a mass appraisal process to value you home. They obtain valuation quickly and usually inefficiently by getting cheap fast results. They spend huge amounts on this to catch the few folks who added a deck, patio, shed or small addition without a building permit.

Many times the highest-priced homes are used as a gauge of the neighborhood’s value. The easy way is to roll over previous information. Erroneous information makes it way on the property record card. While cost effective (so they think) to the tax collection authority, it is not fair to a large portion of homeowners.
Consumer Reports (Nov.1992 v57 nil p.723) published that property tax records show an error rate of 40% exists in estimating property taxes. The National Taxpayers Union (“How To Fight Property Taxes” 2004 p.1) writes that as many as 60% of all homeowners are over-assessed and not in line with their home value.

When you win a property tax appeal your tax win continues: Your property tax assessment savings rolls over year after year – it’s not just a one shot deal! If you reduce your taxes say $1,000 for the year, that savings is yours each and every year until the next blanket reassessment … which could be for another 5, 10, 20 or more years.

The correct vocabulary is that one appeals their assessments. Appealing your taxes is a political issue. If you don’t like your taxes, your protest them! The nonsense of tax increases is largely the result of spineless government officials who are addicted to spending instead of cost cutting. I live on a budget and so should my government! Period.

The Village of Skokie, Illinois has kept promise to keep taxes flat since ’90. It can be done!
It’s not surprising that Skokie trustees made a promise in 1990 to hold the line on taxes. What’s surprising is that the promise still stands. The Village Board is scheduled to vote Monday on a 2006 tax levy of $15.5 million, the same amount it levied in 1990.

That’s 16 consecutive years with no new property taxes. Had the village increased its levy every year just to account for inflation, as determined by the consumer price index, Skokie’s 2006 tax levy would be $23.3 million, said Robert Nowak, director of finance.

It can be done! Is budgeting done in you community?

Taxpayer’s Delinquent Tax Guide

If you are a taxpayer who owes back taxes, no matter what the reasons, you do have options available to you when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service commonly referred to as the IRS.

The first option to consider would be the IRS installment agreement, if the amount owed is less than $25,000 then this agreement would be the logical approach. IRS charges between $43 and $105 to process the agreement. In majority of the cases the agreement approval is automatic.

This agreement allows you to pay your full debt in smaller, more manageable amounts. The amount of your installment payments will be based on the amount you owe and your ability to pay that amount within a defined period not to exceed five years.

The installment agreement will require a financial statement listing your assets including your checking and savings accounts. If you do not make your agreed upon payments be aware that the IRS can and often will levy your checking or saving accounts as you have already provided them with the account information.

The specific tax form you will need is tax form 9465 and it provides instructions for filling out the application. Don’t forget your processing fee, which will be determined by your specific financial circumstances.

If you should find yourself unable to pay any amount based on your current financial situation you may request that the Internal Revenue Service suspend any collection activities until you are in a better position financially.

This option or process is called “currently not collectible”. In order to receive an uncollectible status from the IRS you must be able to prove that you do not have any assets that would allow you to pay the tax amounts owed. You must demonstrate that you only have enough money to pay for your basic living expenses. To do this, you must fill out tax form 433-F and this form has to be updated annually.

This option does not eliminate your tax debt and the IRS will restart collection activities in the future if they feel you have the ability to pay.

If you owe more than $25,000 and the likelihood is that you wouldn’t be able to pay it off in any reasonable period of time then you might want to consider an IRS process called “Offer in Compromise (OIC)”. An Offer in Compromise is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that resolves the taxpayer’s tax liability for less than they owe.

Be cautious when it comes to tax settlement firms, these firms charge fees starting at $2,000 or more and there are no guarantees that your offer would be accepted by the IRS. If you get rejected by the IRS, you will have virtually no recourse with these firms.

Be advised that over 80 % of all applications are rejected due to improper planning and taxpayer’s frequent misconceptions.

The last option is called “statute of limitation” which is basically a get out of jail card which means after ten years the IRS can no longer collect on any tax year that is older than 10 years. There are some exceptions so seek professional advice if you are approaching the 10 year period.

In conclusion don’t fret over delinquent taxes as you do have options and the tax service will work with you to solve any tax situation.