The Process of Property Tax Assessment and When to Appeal It
Columbus area homeowners and many homeowners across the entire country benefited from considerable home value increases over the last three years for homeowners that have been in their homes for that long or longer. National real estate data numbers show that the median home price in the United States for 2022 was $386,300. This is a 10.21% increase year over year for home value.
This is great news as far as equity is concerned but it may not be the best news when considering that an increase in property value also means an increase in property taxes. The average property tax increase for America was found to be around 18% in the past five years. This is from data gathered from the home research company House Method. This can be a significant housing cost increase for some American and Columbus homeowners but there is a way to get some relief with it through a tax assessment appeal. A 2020 report from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation reported that only 5% of American homeowners ask for an appeal.
The basics of a property tax assessment
Property taxes are a significant source of income for a majority of local governments. Those property taxes are used to pay for helpful community finances but they can put a crunch on a Columbus homeowner's budget. This payment can be a large portion of housing expenses for homeowners that have been in their homes for a significant amount of time.
Property tax assessment is performed to determine the property value of homes within local governments' boundaries. The assessment is performed by the government assessor who will use the professional assessment to calculate the amount of property taxes owed by each property owner. Most property taxes are paid annually though some locations will have a different payment schedule. They are paid on a county level.
Factors that influence a home's tax assessment and required tax payment
The taxable value of the property
A property's tax value is set by deducting any exemptions from the assessed value of the property and then multiplying the result of the deductions by the millage rate in the area.
The appraised value
The appraised value of your home is also referred to as the fair market value of the property. This is determined through a professional appraisal that looks at current real estate market factors of your area as well as requires an in-person physical look of your home.
A properties assessed value
This value is used only for tax purposes and it can be different from the professional appraisal. The assessed value is usually only gathered after a property valuation from government officials. Things that would trigger this include a change in ownership or significant renovations/remodeling done to the property.
The value of a Columbus property has the largest impact on the calculation for the required property tax payment. Some local municipalities will take a property tax assessment every year and others opt to do it more periodically up to every three years. In some areas, properties may be scheduled at different times to undergo a tax assessment.
The assessed value of a Columbus home is then multiplied by the number of mills levied for the property tax rate in the area. A millage rate is the use of a mill that is equal to 1000th of a dollar. So this is one dollar for every $1000 of assessed value on a Columbus property.
What you can do if you feel your property taxes are too high
In America, all homeowners have the right to contest a property tax assessment and ask for a formal reassessment. This is called a property tax assessment appeal. Each local municipality will have its own procedure for going through an assessment appeal. You want to contact your local government officials to ask them how you can get an appeal started in your area. You want to make sure that you know the deadline to challenge your assessment as some local governments only give homeowners a few weeks after receiving one. If you file an appeal and it is refused and you feel like it was unjustly refused you can make a case to the appeals board.
Some homeowners may feel like they do not have a leg to stand on when it comes to their property taxes but is always well worth doing your homework to ensure you are not overpaying your tax bill.
For more information on buying or selling homes in Columbus and surrounding areas please contact us anytime.