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Appealing Your Property Taxes – You Cannot Win If You Do Not Try

Posted on in Appeals

property tax appeal, property taxes, Wisconsin property taxes, Milwaukee appeals lawyer, tax appeals processBy: Chris Strohbehn

Every year business owners go through the ritual of opening up their notices from their municipality or an assessor to see how much the municipality is charging for property taxes that year. Of course, that ritual often ends with a groan and perhaps a feeling that for whatever reason this is not right. What can you do to make it right?

Call Your Assessor

First, do not be afraid to call your assessor. Many times the assessor will talk to you and explain why he or she made the determination in regards to your property. There may be a good reason and that could put your mind at ease. Other times, the assessor may have overlooked some characteristic of your property that makes it less valuable than what it is, or overemphasized another characteristic in valuing it higher. If you have concrete facts as to why it should be a lesser value, share that with them. Maybe you can work out a deal. In the event you cannot come to an agreement with your assessor, you have the option to formally object.

Jump Through the Hoops

Second, if you are serious about challenging your property taxes, make sure you follow the guidelines to properly object in a timely manner. Read your paperwork. You need to follow the guidelines therein to timely object and schedule a hearing with the Board of Review. If you object to an assessment and cannot agree to a value with the assessor, you will have to take your case to the local Board of Review, which decides whether to sustain the assessment or reduce the value. At that Board of Review hearing, you must present evidence that your property was assessed higher than it should have been.

Go to the Board of Review

If you are unable to reach an agreement with your assessor you will need to pitch your case to the Board of Review. How can you do that? Do not be afraid to talk to or hire an appraiser to review your property. You might think the cost will not be worth it for one year, but think about the value of a recent appraisal for the next few years down the line. You might think better of it then. Why do you need an appraisal? The Board will generally presume that the assessor’s estimation of your property value is valid. You need to be able to support your argument to the Board of Review, and unless you have a number of comparable sales or other relevant and persuasive information for the Board, this is one of the better ways to demonstrate your case. At a minimum, it will give the Board pause rather than simply sustaining the assessment against you.

Conclusion

You cannot win an appeal if you do not try. And, once you object and talk to your assessor, you might be able to find some common ground going forward on your assessment. If anything, you will feel better about participating in the process rather than simply feeling powerless or unable to act the next year when your assessment comes in the mail. Speak with a skilled Milwaukee appeals lawyer today to discuss your case.

Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP

330 East Kilbourn Avenue
Suite 1170
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Phone: 414-271-1440
Fax: 414-271-7680
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