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Contesting an assessment value for property taxes

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  • Contesting an assessment value for property taxes

    Anyone here ever contested the value their home was assessed at for property tax purposes? I got a letter from the Marion County assessor today indicating my assessment is going up again this year, which I think is the third year in a row they've done that. I let it slide the last couple of times, but now I'm thinking about contesting it.

    My home was built in 1999, and I bought it in 2003. At that time the assessed value was about $1500 less than what I bought it for. Now it is $2000 more than the purchase price. There's no way my house is worth more on the market now than when I bought it. I'm in a nice but relatively inexpensive neighborhood, and houses in the area have been slow to sell the last couple of years. I know of some houses of the same size in the neighborhood with amenities mine doesn't have (sunrooms, fireplaces, etc.) which sold for several thousand less than I paid for mine. I think my new assessed value is about 5-7% above the home's current market value.

    This isn't the kind of thing I would normally obsess over, but it's ridiculous for them to raise my assessed value three years in a row in a down housing market. Indiana, by court order, must assess property for tax purposes according to market value. I'm willing to pay my fair share of property taxes, but I don't think I should have to pay way more than my share.

    Has anyone gone through this and successfully contested their assessed value? Is it worth the hassle? Any tips on the best ways to win the appeal?
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  • #2
    I haven't done it on that basis but I did on the basis of an outrageous assesment of a new garage I had built.
    Actually, a letter with supporting facts got it changed without a hearing.
    Go for it.
    Arm yourself with comps of the sales of similiar homes.
    "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
    ~~Groucho Marx
    I have the hots for Khaleesi...


    • #3
      My property taxes went up $3,000 in one year. Soon after I paid that bill, I was contacted by an agency that would do the work of contesting the rate. They knocked off $2,500 of that increase.

      Deep down, I have this feeling there was a collusion between the assessors' office and that company.

      A year later, I got two checks from the assessors' for increases on my tax bill for two years.


      • #4
        Gather as much evidence as possible to support your case.
        If there's a county/city tax database similar to this link you can access, collect information on houses in your neighborhood and general area. Compare them to your house to see if you can find differences in assessments you can point out.
        Contact a realtor or two and get recent listings/sales. Do the same with those. Try to use similar houses. Price/square foot can be used if similar houses are not available.
        Point out repairs/upgrades that your house needs or doesn't have compared to the listings and/or neighborhood that would bring your value down compared to others....your house needs a new roof, it's the only house in neighborhood that doesn't have a complete kitchen redo, has a pool that has cracks or pump equipment on its last legs.
        Appraisal protest hearings vary a lot. Here it's a three person 'council' that hears the protest. The personalities of that council can affect the outcome of the protest.
        Again, evidence is key.


        • #5
          Not sure how Indiana does it, but in Illinois the "market value" is based on the average of the past 3 years...

          Because of that, it probably won't be until next year that the falling housing market will accurately be reflected in the property tax...

          Of course, knowing Illinois, they'll change the law over the winter to keep the revenues artificially inflated...
          Chicago Blackhawks done didn't do it again!


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