Challenging Your Property Tax Assesment

By Morris Barocas

With the rapidly declining home prices, I frequently hear complaints about the property tax assessments.   In many instances the property tax assessment is greater than the purchase price of the home.  This is because properties are assessed once every five years and many homes in lower Fairfield County were assessed in 2007 or 2008 when home prices were near their peak.

However when challenging the assessment, I do not look at present market values.  Instead I look at the value of the property at the time of the assessment to see if property is valued equitably with similar type property within the same taxing jurisdiction. I specifically examine the values assessed by the municipality to the land and to the structures.  I examine the tax assessor’s field card for inaccuracies in square footage, date of construction and quality of materials.

If you believe your tax assessment is substantially more than your neighbors in a similar sized and aged home, you should speak with an attorney about appealing your property tax assessment.  You may in fact realize substantial savings for years to come.


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