Are there things I should be considering now to prepare for a property tax appeal in 2009?
Yes! There are several things you should be doing now to get a heads up on your taxes.
In the past few months, the AccuVal AdVisory™ contained featured articles about proactive federal income tax planning, including estate planning and gifting. In regard to state and local taxes, we have cautioned that even despite current economic conditions, local governments are on track to collect more property tax revenue than in previous years. In this month’s article, we will focus on three (3) specific things you should consider now.
- Review your tax assessments.
Take the time to review your tax assessment and make sure that you understand the information presented and that the property information is correct. Errors and an overvaluation of property can occur. However, you are responsible for bringing any errors to the attention of the assessor to have them corrected.
- Document any changes.
When conducting a review of your real property assets, make a note of any change in the condition of a particular property, such as the loss of a tenant, a loss of revenue, vacancy, unsold units marketed by a developer, significant capital improvements or repairs, physical damage or a decline in overall market value. A review of taxable inventory should take into consideration such factors as shrinkage, damage, and obsolescence. As for your personal property, consider whether there have been any material changes in the market demand for the assets, and how the value of the assets has been affected by functional and/or economic obsolescence, especially given the current economic environment.
- Determine if you need assistance.
Depending on the fair market value of your real and personal property as determined by the assessor, you may want to consider getting outside appraisal assistance. Choose a company that has the right experience and credibility - a company that can help you throughout the entire process, from the local jurisdiction through all phases of litigation, as applicable. Assessors are going to be under a lot of pressure from all sectors (i.e., residential, commercial and industrial) to reduce property tax assessments significantly – and due to this expected volume an appraisal may be your best evidence that that the value of your property has significantly declined.
In 2009, all corporations should seriously consider whether or not to appeal the assessed value of their assets for property tax purposes. Remember, as President Calvin Coolidge advised, "Collecting more taxes than is necessary is legalized robbery."
Consistent with our communication with each of our tax clients, and pursuant to the rules of professional conduct set forth in Circular 230 as promulgated by the United States Department of the Treasury, nothing contained in this communication was intended or written to be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer by the Internal Revenue Service, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer for such purpose.