Recently, a woman called me who was so distraught that I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. I told her to take a deep breath and explain what was wrong. It turned out that she had just gotten a notice of assessment from her county that was more than 120% above the price her company had just paid for their new building. The arm’s-length purchase had taken place less than 12 months before.
Her distress was justified. The company had budgeted $45,000 for real estate taxes, and now owed more than $125,000. And they were not alone – every business owner on that street was hit with equally explosive increases in assessed value.
To make a long story short, every single one of those property owners engaged RPTA to appeal their taxes. We prevailed in all of the hearings and, in some cases, delivered a reduction to an amount lower than the property taxes from two years before the revaluation.
The moral of this story? Take a note from the Boy Scouts: Be prepared. And to prepare for property taxes, you need to know how to ensure you only pay your fair share.
Most commercial property owners never take the time to analyze and question their tax assessment, even when it includes a drastic increase like the ones in this case. Owners get so busy that reviewing their assessments falls to the bottom of the “to do” list. By the time they get around to it, the appeal deadline has already passed and they are stuck paying taxes on the higher value, which they did not even get a chance to review.
The best way to ensure you’re not overpaying your taxes is to partner with property tax consulting experts. Explore three reasons you should turn to experts to help secure significant property tax savings.
1. You Need To Determine If Your Assessment Is Accurate
Many property owners don’t know the actual value of their property, making it impossible to determine whether or not their property tax assessment is fair. Since each jurisdiction has its own way of assessing and appraising property, it’s difficult for property owners to keep up, especially if they have property holdings in multiple jurisdictions.
A property tax consulting expert has the skills and experience to determine the accurate value of your property.
2. You’re Running Out Of Time
Every day that you delay addressing your commercial property tax assessment is another day closer to your appeal deadline. And your window for action is already short. In some jurisdictions, you could have as few as 15 days from the receipt of your assessment to file your appeal.
Remember, even if you plan on filing an appeal, you still must pay the full tax bill based on your jurisdiction’s initial property tax assessment. If your appeal is successful, you will receive a refund from the jurisdiction.
Partnering with a property tax consultant as soon as possible is imperative for meeting your deadline. A tax consulting expert has the skills to expedite the appeal filing process. Keep in mind that if you miss the deadline to file a property tax appeal or if you file it incorrectly, you’re out of luck. There are no extensions, so you’d have to wait until next year to appeal that year’s assessment.
3. Your Appeal Is More Likely To Be Successful
Filing a property tax appeal is a detailed, time-consuming process. Unless you have vast experience in appealing commercial property tax assessments, you’re probably unprepared for the task. If you want your property tax appeal to be successful, turn to a commercial property tax consultant.
While it may be tempting to look at the sale price of your property and assume that is the property’s value, that’s usually incorrect. When you buy a property, you often take on the property’s intangible assets, such as workforce, brand, agreements, leases and management fees. None of this intangible property is taxable, and it should be excluded from the assessment of your property. Property tax consultants are able to identify and separate these intangible assets from your property’s value, strengthening your case for an appeal.
Property tax consultants have resources at their disposal to back up your appeal, making it more compelling to the jurisdiction. They have access to databases, property history and market research, all of which impact the value of your property. They also know how to construct and present an appeal to the jurisdiction, increasing the chances that your appeal is successful.
If you’re facing an assessment that you think is too high, don’t fight it on your own. Trust experienced property tax consultants to help you determine the real value of your property, meet deadlines and secure property tax savings.
Don't wait until it's too late to contact a commercial property tax management expert. Schedule a free consultation with our commercial property tax management team to learn how to unlock hidden tax savings for your business.