My name is Danielle Diaz. One of the things I've learned in life, both inside and outside the courtroom, is that it is important to not see others as your enemy. Even though you may see the prosecutor as your enemy, he or she is just trying to do a job. It may be possible that you can get a prosecutor or the judge to be sympathetic and get him or her on your side. In order to accomplish this, you need to understand the law. I feel that most individuals do not understand the law, which is why I was motivated to create this blog.
Nobody likes paying real estate taxes, but it's particularly distressing to pay more than your fair share. If you own a business or have commercial property investments, however, it may be time to question what you are paying.
A lot of business owners never consider challenging their real estate taxes, but they should.
1. Property Assessment Discrepancies Are Common
The government uses your property's market-assessed value as the basis for your property's taxes. A lot of times, that's nothing more than the most recent sales price of the property adjusted upwards for appreciation over time, although sometimes the property's value may be calculated using "comps." Those are comparisons to other, similar properties that have recently sold.
The problem with this method is that neither of those methods may give the fair market value of your property. If your building is in an area in decline, for example, your property could be worth less than it was a few years ago, not more. And it's unfair to look at recent sales of like properties if your building is in a state of disrepair and the others were not.
2. Increased Expenses and Increased Vacancies Can Affect Property Values
During tough economic times, a lot of businesses face significant financial challenges. Those troublesome business conditions can open the door to possible tax incentives or abatements.
You may be able to negotiate with the local tax authority for some tax relief based on the idea that your building is in need of renovations or you are making significant repairs already and that your overall revenues are down. Many communities are willing to make the trade-off for less taxes if it means keeping a local business and the economic benefits it brings the community in place.
3. Market Conditions Can Change Rapidly
Whether it's from sweeping social changes, highly unstable interest rates, or something else, the real estate market can shift very suddenly. An area that's a popular commercial zone could become a virtual ghost town, for example, if a lot of companies move their employees to remote work positions.
That could happen between your last tax assessment and the time when your tax bill comes due. If it does, you have every reason to challenge the bill, since it's no longer reflective of your property's true market value.
Generally speaking, if you think that there's no possible way that you could sell your building for its tax-appraised value, it may be time to call a real estate tax attorney and discuss your legal options.
For more information, contact a property tax attorney near you.