Monday, March 2, 2009

Deadline For City Property Tax Assessment Appeals: Tuesday, March 3

If you want to appeal the assessor's appraisal of your home, you need to visit or call the City Assessor's Office by Tuesday, March 3 to get the process going. The number is 434-970-3136.

As the FAQ on the City's website says, "The assessment/appraisal buisiness is not an exact science. The assessor does not get the opportunity to go in every home...[M]ost assessments are based on exterior assessments."

The assessor attempts to base the taxes due on "Fair Market Value," which the City defines as "the most probable price expressed in terms of money that a property would bring if exposed for sale on the open market."

The City compares "similar properties of the same type and class which have sold recently in the same neighborhood, taking into consideration factions which may effect value; such as location, condition, size, etc. Recent sale prices in your neighborhood determine what your assessment will be."

If there are no recent sales, the assessor has to use sales from a "comparable area to determine values."

Keep in mind that the Assessor by law is using properties that have already sold. The Assessor's purpose is to collect revenue for the City. The Assessor is not predicting what a property will sell for now or in the future, in a market that has a huge oversupply, in an economy that is in Recession, in an area that is losing population and doesn't have any major job opportunities appearing (the jobs at NGIC are spoken for). But these factors are also likely not going to change his mind about what your tax burden should be.

That being said, many residents will find they have something to discuss with the Assessor. As the DP reports today, nearly 400 residents have already started the appeal. The Assessor's office expects more, because many people wait until the deadline.

Be sure to read all of the FAQ from the Assessor's Office here. Make sure that the information on your property that the City has stored online is correct by researching your house here.

For more information about challenging an assessment, see this article.

In an earlier post, we have links to City and County information, DP and WSJ articles.


downtownenvy said...

Yes, what a perfect system. We have assessors that have never even seen the inside of most homes, and yet, they are responsible for coming up with a figure that will help compile the tax revenue base for the city. So really,what motivation do they have for "realistically" assessing any property in the city?

Good googly-moogly as my 3 year old says- if there are no recent comps, how can they possibly be anywhere near accurate? If anyone has any insight as to how they reach their numbers, my neighbor would love to hear it. She has been a resident for over 20 years, and honestly believes that they use chicken bones and the blood of children to divine their numbers. Sorry, but true.

Anonymous said...

The typical seesaw municipalities dust off in poor real estate climates is to BOTH reduce assessments while raising assessment ratio and/or tax rates. The taxing authority is responsible for no more an inflated market value than starry-eyed buyers and sellers. It is a vicious cycle!

anonymous 2 said...

nobody's ever been in my house for an assessment and this year we're appealing. it's almost like they want to see what they can get away with. "drive by" assessments? ridiculous.