When we last left off I suggested we were going to talk about choosing the right appraisal for your needs. I’ve decided to take today’s topic in another direction, one in which I feel is more relevant to my readers. I’d like to focus today’s discussion on value notices and tax bills; how many taxpayers honestly read these? In my experience, very few taxpayers take the time to review either. The value notice is never given more than a glance and the only reason the tax bill gets any attention is because of the obligation to make a payment. For some taxpayers, this works because their property isn’t moving around and historically nothing has really changed. But, for others, there are a lot of changes; property moving, valuation changes, multiple account numbers, sometimes in just one taxing jurisdiction with no direction as to what each account number represents. Based on my experience I have found that investing just a small amount of time to review these notices and bills can save thousands of dollars annually.
I recently looked at one state for a taxpayer, the focus being personal property with approximately 50 property accounts. Initial review identified about 40% of the property accounts had a value very different from what the taxpayer had anticipated. Upon investigation, the main differences were depreciation, combined accounts, accounts divided into multiple accounts etc; small changes made by the jurisdiction that can create a huge difference in valuation. With just a few emails, phone calls and data sharing back and forth with the assessing jurisdictions, the outcome was approximately $40,000 in tax savings. This is just one example and if I applied this process to all of the states, do you think we would have similar results? I sure do. So the next time that notice or bill shows up in your mailbox, think about this scenario and maybe take a couple extra minutes to possibly save yourself a lot of money.
In the meantime, if you have real estate or personal property questions or concerns, please contact Holly Swisher, CMI, Columbus, Ohio CPA firm Clarus Partners at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-256-3445.