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My real-estate lawyer sent me an offer to file a tax appeal on my behalf. I will have to pay some percentage from the tax savings if appeal is successful and my taxes are reduced and won't have to pay anything otherwise.

To me it sounds like a win-win deal where I do not lose anything.

Are there any hidden downsides to this? For example, could this negatively affect property price? Or perhaps raise my taxes on a longer run?

  • Why did he send you this offer to begin with? – littleadv Feb 12 '14 at 20:05
  • @littleadv: I am guessing - to make some money in case appeal is successful? – user4929 Feb 12 '14 at 20:13
  • @VladLazarenko - You had an established relationship? Yes, no downside. Many people don't have any idea how to file an appeal like this, a fraction of first year savings is a fair price, if you have no cost. – JoeTaxpayer Feb 12 '14 at 21:36
  • @JoeTaxpayer: Yes, this is a lawyer I've been working with on all my housing matters (definitely not a letter from Nigerian price :)). But I figured - always better to double check. Thanks for your response! – user4929 Feb 12 '14 at 21:41
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    Note that when you ask to have the value reconsidered, you are also opening an opportunity to raise the number. Never invoke what thou canst mot banish.. – keshlam Dec 4 '15 at 15:41
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I have been doing this for years on Long Island, NY where property taxes are very high. Several local law firms specialize in filing appeals for homeowners. The usual fee is 1/2 of the first year's property tax savings with no charge if the appeal is unsuccessful. I have not found any downside to this process. You could eliminate the fee by filing your own appeal, which is possible, but it is not a simple process.

  • Thanks, Barry. I am in for a tax appeal as well. Taxes are too damn high! – user4929 Feb 13 '14 at 2:36
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Many property appraisers use the property's assessed value (and the factors that go into computing it) to calibrate their appraisals. If successful, your property tax appeal will cause your local government to downgrade one or more factors that affect the appraised value. This is likely to cause property appraisers to reduce your property's appraised value.

A lower appraised value will reduce your home equity (for purposes of getting a bank loan), reduce the amount you can borrow against your home, and increase your borrowing costs.

In jurisdictions with modest property tax rates, it can be worthwhile to appeal a property tax assessment in order to increase the assessed value. In the U.S., the difference between 15% and 23% home equity can result in substantial mortgage savings.

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