File an appeal to reduce your tax bill

By Matt Boyce - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In this tough economy, more homeowners are dealing with declining property values.

But there is one silver lining: reassessment. File an appeal and you could get your tax bill lowered.

We've heard it for months: Declining property values. That means your home could be worth a lot less.

But you could still be getting a tax bill, that's way too much. The solution: File an appeal and get your property reassessed.

"Unfortunately, we're finding a lot of clients that just didn't even know they could file an appeal," said tax expert  Alison Tulio.

You could do it yourself, or hire experts that specialize in this.

"It's complicated but that's why we're here," Tulio said. "We like to educate our clients and help them figure out whether or not it's worth it for them to file the appeal. Generally our clients are paying $10,000 or more in property taxes."

Tulio says there are two types of appeals, if you bought your home in the last six to 12 months, you can use your most recent appraisal.

But if you bought your house more than a year ago, you'll first need an appraisal. That typically costs $450.

Firms like Mid-Atlantic are getting a lot of work because they then do the work for the homeowners.

"The only thing that they need to do is schedule the appraisal with the appraiser," Tulio said. "We file the appeal. We have the appraiser go to the hearing with an attorney. They don't have to attend the hearing and it's really a stress free easy process for them.

"In this economy, everyone is looking for ways to save money. This is something that will save you a significant amount of money every year."

A quick check with your localities office of real estate assessment will give specific instructions for filing an assessment appeal in your area.

In some instances, the assessor's office can review your request or assign it to an independent board of review.

You also may be able to make a direct appeal to the circuit court.

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