Reasons to Appeal

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The Bottom Line
Have I been assessed fairly in relation to the others in my jurisdiction?

Let's assume you are an upstanding, model citizen and you open your mail the day you receive it. Today, you received a notice from your local assessor's office as to what your property is worth. Let’s say the government determines an assessed value of $300,000. Out of curiosity, you log on your computer and go to to see how much this site believes your house is worth. Zillow runs a market survey on all houses surrounding yours and displays a value of $414,000. On the one hand, you are furious that the government undervalues your property,  On the other hand, and most likely, you are relieved because you will be paying less in taxes. You smirk and say to yourself, "I outwitted the government," and go about your business.



Three very important items to know before deciding to appeal:

1. Governments have the ability to assess your house at a higher than FMV, fair marked value, but generally they assess it at less value. You may still have a case to appeal an assessment that is too high, even though the government assessed it  lower than FMV, fair market value.

2. Governments generally are required to assess fairly and equally. That is, your property must be assessed on an equal basis compared to your neighbors. You have grounds to win an appeal if your house is assessed higher than similar homes in your neighborhood.

3. Governments generally consider property tax appeals at the Board of Equalization. Their job is to EQUALIZE the tax burden.

Do the Math

Determine your Sales Ratio

Contact the assessor’s office. Ask them to give you the sales ratio for your jurisdiction. The sales ratio is also known as the RAR (Residential Assessment Ratio), the average ratio, the assessment level, director’s ratio, the common level of 100% of true value or equalization rate.

Say they tell you the rate is .60

Sales Ratio is determined by the formula:

Sales Ratio = Fair Market Value Assessed Values

Determine your Assessed Value

Look at your tax bill and calculate the assessed value of your house, for yourself.

Get our Your Calculator

Divide the Assessed Value by the Assessment ratio to determine the assessor's opinion of FMV of your house.

Assess Value ÷ Assessment Ratio = Assessors opinion of Fair Market Value

For this example: $300,000.00 .60 = $500,000.00

From this calculation, the assessor's opinion of the Fair Market Value of your house is $500,000.00, although the actual Fair Market Value is $414,000.00


If the assessor thinks the Fair Market Value of your house is higher then it actually is then Appeal.

If the assessor thinks the Fair Market Value of your house is lower that it actually is then Keep Quiet. Maybe send a donation to us to keep up the cause. Donate

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Don't rely only on published sources to determine the Fair Market Value of your house.  Many factors, such as condition, neighborhood, damage and mechanical defects can lower it's value.

What Next

If you feel you have justification for an appeal, then your next steps will be to:

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