Property Taxes Too High? Here's How to Fight the Tax Man

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3. The assessor made poor comparisons in valuing your house. In this third situation, the assessor put a value on your house by using comparables that aren't, well, comparable. If this is the case, you can argue that the houses the city or county used as comparisons are far better and nicer than your house. You want to be accurate, but it's the one time you want your home to come off as crummy as possible! According to attorneys who handle these cases, the difference between your house and the comparables needs to be at least 10 percent for you to have a good case. Some jurisdictions will actually tell you what percentage difference they consider actionable.

My neighbors appealed their property taxes and won. They persuaded the city to lower their home's assessed value from about $600,000 to $550,000. Since lowering your property tax assessment saves you money for years to come, here's an approximation of their five-year savings:

My Neighbor's Property Taxes Over 5 Years

Assessed Value Tax Bill
$600,000 $31,511
$550,000 $28,885
BIG SAVINGS= $ 2,626

If you absolutely cannot spend the time it takes to appeal your tax assessment yourself, many property tax consultants and tax attorneys will take these cases on a contingency basis. If you lose your case, it costs you nothing. That should tell you how good your odds of winning are - since lawyers don't generally like to work for free.
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