Fighting Your Tax Bill

Is it worth fighting your assessment? Sometimes it is. Sometimes you run the risk of the Tax Man realizing that he didn’t know about the addition you built, or the half bath you added and your assessment might go off in directions you didn’t intend or expect.

Scrutinize your assessment for mistakes – I recently talked with a homeowner whose square footage for the basement is listed on the assessment as double what it should be. If you can find an old appraisal, that can help in establishing the correct square footage.

I talked to a real estate appraiser earlier this week who also works with homeowners to help them fight their assessments. He says Prince George’s County and Baltimore have the most mistakes on their tax records in terms of square footage. If you want his name and number, let me know and I’ll send it to you.

And sometimes you get the following result:

I about fell of my stool tonight opening mail.  I received a Final Notice of Assessment from the State of MD.

They have reduced my total assessment from $301,000 down to $208,000.  Land stayed at $70,000 but the buildings, other went from $230,900 down to $138,000.

Overall I know it’s not great news but until values go back up at least I will be paying less property taxes.I have you to THANK for the comps and the dialogue we had.  I owe you!


If you want to fight your own assessment, you can use a recent appraisal – that’s the best tool, especially if it’s within the past 3 to 6 months. However, even though comparable properties were scarce, we apparently found enough to convince the assessor that this particular property was being over-assessed.

For those of us here in Cheverly, we’ll be reassessed this fall and we’ll have our new tax bill in January.

© 2011 Susan Pruden.  All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to Fighting Your Tax Bill

  1. It’s kinda of funny, isn’t it? No one wants a high tax assessment but they want a high selling price when it’s time to sell. Can’t have it both ways, of course. My personal assessment went way down the last time I was assessed so I’m not fightin’ Jack (Oh, wait. Jack just pleaded guilty.).

    Sometimes the government does work OK.
    Ken Montville recently posted..Chasing the Last 5-000

    • susanpruden says:

      Of course it’s always good to be in that short time when values go up and prices are high but taxes are still low. By their very nature, assessments lag behind market values in our area, sometimes higher and sometimes lower, but seldom right on. I know you get asked all the time about the correlation between a property’s assessed value and its market value (say it with me, Ken – there isn’t one, at least not in our area!)

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