Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why aren't Your Real Estate Taxes reduced when Property Values are Down? Time for Tax Appeal!

It is that time of year again! Every year counties within the United States issue their real estate tax bill to commercial and residential property owners. These funds are used for various line items of the county's budget. Your tax bill is based on the assessed value of the asset according to the tax assessor's evaluation of the properties contained within in the county (Using Arial Photos). It is also based on the last purchase price that you paid for the property.

In case you didn't notice but A LOT of people purchased properties at the height of the market. Did the counties care if you did that? Noooooo....the more you pay for the asset, the more taxes they collect. But what investors didn't count on was the market tanked and property values dropped like a rock in some parts of the country. Unfortunately that included Florida, mainly Broward and Dade counties.

So here you are, holding onto a property and paying taxes (pre-bubble burst) on a property that lost at least half of its value or more! Does the county government care about this? Nooooooo....If they did, there would be less revenue for the county coffers. So what can we do as property owners?

No Taxation without Representation!

Luckily for us our founding forefathers saw this happening too! This great country of ours was founded on tax revolt. They made sure our representatives are held accountable for their actions. So, most counties have made provisions in the municipal code to allow tax payers to appeal their accessed property values. There is a small window, yes I mean SMALL, during the calendar year where you can file the proper documents with the county to ask for a reduction. Now don't get me wrong, the county is not going to give up. They will fight you. You better be able to prove that you are being over taxed!

As a real estate investor, I don't relish the thought of doing this every year for the rest of my life for various reasons:

  1. Time consuming.
  2. Need proper documentation.
  3. Dealing with government employees.
  4. Traffic.
  5. Parking Fees.
  6. And on and on...

I leave that up to EXPERIENCED professionals. Let them hassle with this process. The advantages are:

  1. They know the proper filing dates.
  2. They are experienced.
  3. They know the proper documents to file.
  4. Familiar with the tax appeal system.
  5. They only get paid if you win the appeal.
  6. The asset looks attractive to other investors.
  7. Nice profit windfall for investors. Found Money...Yeah Baby!

Now is the time to start considering how you can increase your cash flows on your real estate investment portfolio. Remember, the window for filing your real estate tax appeal is small so start considering your options NOW!

Do you have any experience with the tax appeal process that you would like to share with us?

Related Links, Blog Postings, Presentations or Articles:

  • Update #1: After I wrote this posting, I started looking for a Real Estate Tax Reduction Specialist because current properties are severely over assessed. Here is a company that has been successfully appealing commercial property taxes for 21 years:
    Real Estate Associates -

  • Update #2: RETA does residential and commercial. However many Homes are protected by the Save Our Homes Amendment and Homestead exemptions. Therefore the Taxable value maybe lower than the Market or Assessed value. Please send us your properties Folio Number and we will let you know if a reduction is possible.

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