Property Tax Notices

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 or 614-256-3445.

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