Business

Property taxes too high? Try this

If you feel you’re paying too much in property taxes, you have the right to initiate an appeal of the valuation of your property in Indiana. 

The first step, though, should probably be to check if you are receiving all of the exemptions and deductions that you are entitled to by contacting the Auditor’s Office.  The homestead exemption is one of the largest, most widely used deductions, but others include deductions for mortgages, old age, disability, and even deductions for solar, wind, and geothermal energy systems used on the property.

The appeals process must begin within 45 days of notice, which is generally through a Form 11 notification received in the mail or the property tax bill itself, so time is of the essence.   This year, the county relied on the property tax statements to inform taxpayers of the new assessed values.  So given those should have been received in the last several days, you should not allow the moss to grow underneath your feet, per se, until you spring into action.

The process is fairly simple.  It all starts with written notice to the Assessor’s Office, typically through a simple form, such as Form 130.  Many times, smaller issues can be resolved via phone or in-person, though, so use your best judgement. 

A frequent issue in the appeals process is the lack of information and evidence to support the taxpayers claim.  In other words, saying “my taxes are too high” is probably not going to work.  Do some research to help validate your claim and document your reasoning, such as sales documentation for the sale of the property you are contesting, if there’s been a recent sale, or listings or sales information from similar properties in the neighborhood.  An appraisal of the property by a licensed appraiser is probably your best evidence, but it is not required.

Also, please understand what goes into your tax bill because there’s at least two components: (1.) the value of your property, and (2.) the tax rate.  The part you’re disputing is the value of your property, but given the other part of the equation (the tax rate), you may not be affected.  Put another way, the value of your property may have gone up, but the taxes you ultimately owe may be less than last year.

If the taxpayer and Assessor’s Office cannot agree to a resolution with an informal meeting or phone call, the appeal is forwarded on to the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA) for the county within so many days of the appeal being made.  The PTABOA is made up members typically within the county that represent different interests.  It’s their duty to act as a board to determine a fair resolution to the issues brought before it.  From there, a determination is made by the board and the taxpayer is given the opportunity to accept it or appeal to the next level.  For the most part, that is where most appeals stop with very few, if any, going on to the state level.

Many of the forms and deductions discussed above can be found online here.

DISCLAIMER

The information contained herein is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and it should not be construed as tax, financial, and/or legal advice. The content is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or most current. The Lintonian, along with its writers, editors, or other affiliated persons, makes no warranty, expressed or implied, about the accuracy or reliability of the information.

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