Most people have come to expect the arrival of their personal property tax bill every year. But every year, there's always a few who get an unpleasant surprise. Sticker shock is rough enough, but when it's on your property tax assessment, it can be even more alarming. Fortunately, you do have alternatives to paying a too-high assessment. Here's a quick overview of what you should expect when you go through a personal property tax appeal.
What Do You Need to Know for a Personal Property Tax Appeal?
- Start the process. In most situations, directions for starting the appeal process is included with the tax bill. If it isn't, it can be as simple as calling the tax agency's number to learn how the process is handled. In either situation, start the process as quickly as possible to ensure you'll be able to clear the problem up sooner.
- Find what documentation you already have available. If the property is new this year, it's fairly easy for it to be mistaken for another model, trim level or other easily verified error, which can lead to an incorrect assessment. In that situation, you may be able to prove the equipment's value from the invoice. However, if it's had any use at all, you may want to consider that the value may have already dropped, much like when a truck leaves the dealer's lot with the new owner.
- Consider whether that documentation represents an accurate value. If it's new equipment that had any use at all, you may want to consider that the value may have already dropped, much like when a truck leaves the dealer's lot with the new owner. In addition, if the equipment has been used hard, it may have already depreciated in value enough that even a reasonable tax assessment may be much higher than the equipment's actual value.
- Get a certified appraisal report. If you can't come up with any documentation of the value, or if you feel that the value may have changed since that documentation was produced, your next option is to get an appraisal performed. However, you'll want to make sure the individual performing the appraisal has experience working with that type of equipment - after all, the tax assessor who first determined the value used by the tax office deals with a wide range of property, but usually doesn't have the specialized knowledge to deal with the variances in particular equipment types.
- Send or bring your documentation to the tax agency for the appeal. Once you have your documentation in hand, present it to the tax agency in the manner recommended in their appeal process. If you're providing an appraisal report, make sure that it's from a certified appraiser who knows what methodologies to apply in your case.
By taking the time to fight a bad personal property tax appeal, you're protecting your bottom line. If you do need to have an appraisal performed on your equipment, please remember to have it performed by a certified appraiser. The certification process provides the appraiser with the knowledge and expertise to use the right methodologies for your case, methodologies that have been proven in a wide range of situations, including personal property taxes. When you follow these simple steps, your bad appraisal can soon be a thing of the past.