Are your property taxes leaving you feeling financially burdened? Do you believe that your taxes are way out of whack compared to your neighbors’? If so, there is good news for you. In this article, we will explore how you can contest your property taxes and potentially save money. We had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Anderson, also known as the Property Tax Avenger, who used to work in the government Taxation Office but is now an advocate for homeowners facing taxation issues. Read on to learn more about how you can take control of your property taxes.
Understanding how property tax is calculated in Oregon
Many people in Oregon mistakenly believe that property tax is simply a fixed percentage of the last sales price. However, this is not the case. In reality, there are two values to consider when it comes to property tax: the real market value and the assessed value. The Assessor tries to determine the real market value of the property each year, while the assessed value is usually a lower figure. The assessed value is a portion of the real market value, and it generally increases by about 3% each year. Although your taxes are primarily based on the assessed value, the real market value does come into play in certain situations.
Discrepancies between neighboring houses
It is not uncommon for homeowners to feel that their neighbors’ houses are valued differently than theirs, even when the properties are similar. In the past, there used to be a board called the Board Equalization that would address these discrepancies. However, with the current system, if you believe that your neighbor’s house is valued lower than it should be, you can challenge the real market value, potentially lowering your own taxes. This process is known as compression.
Tips for limiting your property tax exposure
If you are trying to sell your house and it is listed below market value, it is advisable to seek professional help. Similarly, if you are buying a home, you should aim to purchase it below the real market value. These proactive steps can help you limit your property tax exposure.
The role of First Class Property Tax Appeals
First Class Property Tax Appeals is a company that specializes in assisting homeowners with their property taxes. Their services are free for single-family dwellings and single-tenant commercial buildings. However, for properties such as Washington Square with 47 attached leases, their services would not be free. If there is a basis for an appeal, they will recommend it and provide an estimate of the potential savings. Once engaged, they will handle the entire process, including filing the paperwork, scheduling inspections, and attending hearings on behalf of the property owner. They have a high success rate, with approximately 90% of their cases resulting in lower taxes for their clients.
Taking control of your property taxes
To take control of your property taxes and potentially save money, it is important to be proactive. If you are considering buying or selling a house, consult a professional to ensure that you make informed decisions. Additionally, it is essential to regularly review your tax statement to identify any discrepancies. Many homeowners fail to do so and end up paying significantly more than they should. By being diligent and proactive, you can make sure that your property taxes align with the actual value of your property.
Simplifying property taxes in Oregon
Steve Anderson believes that there are several steps that Oregon can take to simplify the property tax system. One recommendation is to adopt practices from other states, such as Washington, where individuals aged 65 and older on Social Security or a fixed income receive a reduction in their property taxes or the option to freeze their taxes. Another suggestion is to address the challenges faced by senior adults who have lived in their homes for a long time but find it increasingly difficult to afford their property taxes on a reduced income. Anderson also suggests that homeowners should be more aware of the continuous increase in property taxes, driven by bonds and levies that surpass the annual 3% limitation.
Property taxes can be a burden for homeowners, but with the right knowledge and resources, it is possible to contest them and potentially save money. By understanding how property taxes are calculated, recognizing discrepancies between properties, and taking proactive steps to limit your tax exposure, you can ensure that your taxes align with the value of your property. Companies like First Class Property Tax Appeals offer valuable assistance in navigating the appeal process and have a high success rate in achieving lower taxes for their clients. By simplifying property taxes and implementing practices from other states, Oregon can create a fairer and more efficient system for homeowners. Take control of your property taxes today and alleviate the financial burden on your shoulders.