Property Tax Appeals

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on July 12, 2023

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What Are Property Tax Appeals?

Property tax appeals are formal processes that allow homeowners and property owners to challenge their property's assessed value to reduce their property tax liability.

Property tax appeals are important because they allow taxpayers to ensure that they are paying a fair amount of property taxes based on accurate property assessments.

The property tax appeal process varies by jurisdiction. Generally, it involves submitting an appeal to the local tax assessor or assessment appeals board, providing evidence supporting a lower property valuation, and potentially attending a hearing.

The outcome of a successful appeal can result in a reduced assessed property value, which in turn can lower the property owner's tax liability.

Understanding Property Taxes

Property taxes are taxes imposed on real estate, which serve as a significant source of revenue for local governments. These taxes are typically used to fund public services such as education, public safety, infrastructure, and other essential services.

Various factors determine property tax rates, including the property's assessed value, local tax rates, and any applicable exemptions or relief programs.

The property assessment process involves determining the market value of a property, calculating the assessed value based on that market value, and applying an assessment ratio.

Market value is the estimated price at which a property would sell under normal market conditions.

The assessed value is a percentage of the market value determined by the assessment ratio. Property tax exemptions and relief programs may be available to certain property owners, such as seniors, veterans, or disabled individuals, which can reduce their property tax burden.

Reasons for Appealing Property Taxes

There are several reasons why a property owner may choose to appeal their property taxes.

One of the most common reasons is an inaccurate property assessment, which may result from factors such as outdated or incorrect data on the property, a change in the property's condition, or an unfavorable comparison with similar properties.

Clerical errors, such as incorrect property descriptions or misapplied exemptions, can also lead to an inaccurate assessment.

Market value disparities, which occur when a property's assessed value is higher than the market value of similar properties, can also be a valid reason for an appeal.

Unfair assessment practices, such as discriminatory or arbitrary methods used by the tax assessor, may also be grounds for a property tax appeal.

Additionally, changes in property conditions, such as damage from a natural disaster or a decline in the surrounding neighborhood, may justify an appeal.


Preparing for a Property Tax Appeal

Before initiating a property tax appeal, you must review your property tax bill and assessment to identify any errors or discrepancies. Gathering evidence to support your appeal is crucial, as this will form the basis of your argument for a lower property valuation.

Evidence may include comparable sales of similar properties, independent appraisals, property condition reports, and documentation of any errors made by the taxing authority.

Understanding your jurisdiction's deadlines and appeal requirements is critical, as missing deadlines or failing to meet requirements can result in a denied appeal.

It is also important to determine the potential savings from a successful appeal, as this can help you decide whether pursuing an appeal is worth the time and effort involved.

Filing a Property Tax Appeal

Property tax appeals can be formal or informal, depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the appeal.

Formal appeals typically involve submitting a written appeal to the local tax assessor or assessment appeals board, while informal appeals may involve discussing the assessment with the tax assessor directly.

Filing methods for appeals may include written appeals, online appeals, or in-person appeals, depending on the jurisdiction.

The documentation and forms required for a property tax appeal will vary by jurisdiction, but generally include a completed appeal form, evidence supporting the lower valuation, and any additional required forms or affidavits.

Some jurisdictions may charge fees for filing an appeal or for specific services, such as obtaining copies of property records. Researching and understanding the costs of filing an appeal in your jurisdiction is important.

Property Tax Appeal Hearings

There are two types of property tax appeal hearings: informal and formal. Informal hearings usually involve a discussion with the tax assessor to review the assessment and present your evidence for a lower valuation.

Formal hearings are more structured and occur before an assessment appeals board or similar body, where you must present your case and evidence.

Preparing for a hearing involves organizing your evidence, practicing your presentation, and familiarizing yourself with the hearing procedures.

During the hearing, you must present your case clearly and concisely, addressing any objections or questions raised by the tax assessor or appeals board members.

It is essential to remain respectful and professional throughout the hearing process, as this can impact the outcome of your appeal.

Post-Hearing Process and Outcomes

After the hearing, you will receive a decision on your property tax appeal. It is important to analyze the decision to understand the basis for the outcome and any adjustments made to your property assessment.

If your appeal is denied, you may have the option to request a reconsideration or file an appeal to a higher authority, depending on the rules and procedures in your jurisdiction.

If your appeal is successful, your property taxes will be adjusted based on the reduced assessed value.

It is essential to monitor your property tax bill and assessment to ensure that the adjustments have been accurately applied and to continue being proactive in monitoring your property taxes for potential future appeals.

Tips for a Successful Property Tax Appeal

Proactively monitoring property tax assessments is key to ensuring you are paying a fair amount of property taxes.

Staying organized and thorough in your documentation, including maintaining records of comparable sales, appraisals, and property condition reports, can significantly improve your chances of a successful appeal.

Being respectful and professional during the appeal process can positively impact the outcome of your case.

In some cases, seeking professional assistance from property tax consultants or attorneys may be beneficial, particularly if you are dealing with complex property tax issues or require guidance on navigating the appeals process.


Understanding the property tax appeal process is crucial for property owners who want to ensure they are paying fair and accurate property taxes.

Homeowners can identify potential discrepancies in their property tax bills by becoming familiar with the reasons for appealing property taxes, such as inaccurate assessments, clerical errors, or market value disparities.

Preparing for an appeal involves reviewing the assessment, gathering evidence, and understanding the deadlines and requirements specific to the jurisdiction.

Filing an appeal may involve formal or informal processes, and it is important to know the required documentation, forms, and fees.

Appealing property taxes may necessitate attending a hearing, which requires proper preparation, organization, and presentation skills.

Following the hearing, understanding the outcomes and possible next steps in the case of a denied appeal is essential.

Implementing the tips for a successful appeal, such as proactive monitoring, organization, professionalism, and seeking professional assistance when necessary, can greatly improve the chances of a favorable outcome.

A comprehensive understanding of property tax appeals ultimately empowers property owners to protect their financial interests, ensure fair taxation, and contribute to a more equitable property tax system.

Property Tax Appeals FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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