What type of information do I need to lower my Birmingham, AL real estate taxes?
I thought I would start reminding people early this year that if they want to lower their property taxes they need to find out what type of information that is required. Although the exact date that you can start protesting your property taxes has not been set as of the writing of this blog post, you can start collecting the items that Jefferson County will ask for. Let’s take a look at what types of information will be helpful in winning a protest.
- Photographs– Short of actually being at the property pictures offer the best evidence that your home may not be worth what the county says it is, and you know what they say “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
- Cost information– In addition to pictures you can provide contractor estimates on what it would cost to repair your home and put it in good condition. This will help lend support to the pictures that you take.
- Land sales information– I have seen large discrepancies in land value between what the county says it is worth and what land has actually sold for in the area. By providing support for a lower land value you may help prove a lower assessment for your home.
- Construction costs– If your home is less than three years old and you have the information to prove what the cost to build your home was, then this can be used as support to lower the assessed value if it is higher that the cost to build
- Prior appraisal– If you have had your home appraised within the past three years, and it is less than the assessment, then you can provide this previous appraisal as supporting evidence to lower your assessed value.
- Sales or listing information– If your property has sold or been listed within the past 3 years, this information can be used to argue your case, especially if it sold for lower than the assessment or if it was listed for an amount less than or equal to the assessment and it didn’t sell. This can prove that the asking price was not supported by the market because it didn’t sell.
- Current Appraisal– If you have not had your home appraised within the past 3 years then you can get a current appraisal done and use it if it supports the lower value.
How to file the objection
- Fill out and return the “Real Estate Valuation Notice” provided by the county
- Fill out and return the “Board of Equalization Objection to Property Valuation Notice” provided by the county
- If you don’t use the property objection form you can write a letter but it must contain the following information: parcel id number, owner’s name and mailing address, the value that you do not agree with and your estimate of value, and all of the supporting information noted above.
It is important that the forms be filled out completely and that the supporting data be included or they will reject the protest. The information must be in their office or be postmarked by the deadline date that the county sets. They will not accept faxed or emailed objections. It should also be noted that any sales that are being provided to protest the value must have occurred between October 1 to September 30 of the prior year.
As you can see, there is a strict process that you have to follow in order to protest your property taxes. If you have any question about the steps involved or I can help assist you with an appraisal to help in the process please let me know.