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We're in the process of selling a former home. Our listing price has been sinking all along, but it is about to go below what's listed as the "assessed market value" of the home - that is, the value the town uses to calculate what property tax we owe.

Understanding that this assessed market value is not the same as actual market value, if the sale price is under that number (it seems highly unlikely that it won't be), should the new owners go to the town and request re-assessment? Would we have grounds to ask the town for refund of a portion of the taxes we've paid, arguing that the rate we were taxed at has been shown to be too high? (It seems like this probably happens often enough that most states will have established precedent for dealing with it.)

For what it's worth, the house is in New York State, in the USA.

  • Generally, re-assessments can be requested, but the chances of getting a refund of previously-paid taxes are small. – Dilip Sarwate Oct 24 '14 at 15:41
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Each tax year a local jurisdiction has a time window where homeowner can appeal their assessment. The law dictates the timing of the window, and how to appeal. Assuming that you are still in that window you could appeal. If you are outside that window, your ability is very limited and for all practical purposes is zero. Your local government website, or the copy of your tax bill will tell you how to appeal.

The new homeowners would be able to appeal after the next assessment.

The sale price of the home is not related to the assessed value. You have to show that the government made a mistake (number of bedrooms, size of garage, lot size, age of house...) or that the other houses that were used by the government to make the assessment were not good matches (too far away, different school, local environment...).

Many governments look at how the prices are changing to determine how to adjust the value next year, with the understanding that in a rapidly changing market the moment just prior to the next assessment will show the greatest mismatch between the direction of prices and assessed value.

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In my county in Colorado, the sale price of the house is used as a valuation for the new owner and influences the assessment value when the property is reassessed.

If the home is bought for $200k and sold for $180k the $180k value will affect the valuation when valuations are next computed. There may be a time period between when the house is sold and when the property is reassessed where you'll be paying property tax on a house bought for $180k and assessed at $200k.

The valuations are only adjustable during the valuation window and there is no refund for past tax payments.

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