How to Appeal your Connecticut Property Taxes

How to Appeal your Connecticut Property Taxes

Are your property taxes too high?  Do you know you can appeal your Connecticut property taxes?  I’m proud to say I recently successfully appealed my Greenwich, CT property taxes. Here is how to appeal your Connecticut Property Taxes.

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It started when an inspector from the Town Assessor’s Office came to visit.  She asked for permission to walk the exterior of my property to inspect.  In hindsight, I should have declined.  You know you have the right to refuse the inspector from inspecting your property.  Then a few weeks later, I received a letter saying my property taxes increased!  I was kicking myself for letting the inspector inspect my property, but in hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise.

Apply for a Hearing with the Board of Assessment Appeals

The first thing I did when I received the notice that my property taxes increased was to submit an application for a hearing with the Board of Assessment Appeals.  You can get the application from the Town of Greenwich website.  The most important thing is to follow the instruction on your Assessment Change Notice and don’t miss the deadline.  There will be a postmarked due date that you should not miss.

The application is pretty straight forward asking you for basic information such as Property Address, Owner’s Name, Reason for Appeal, Date you Acquired your Property, Description of Property (single family, multi-family, condo or townhouse) and if you have a recent appraisal of your property.  If you have an appraisal done they are asking you to attach it to the application.  The most difficult part of the application is the section where they ask you to write down the Owner’s Requested value or how much reduction you are asking for.  You will have to input your requested value broken down into 100% Appraised Land Value + 100% Appraised Buildings Value= Total 100% Appraised Value.  Then you will have to take 70% of total value to come up with Assessed Value.  I covered this at a previous post discussing Assessed Value vs. Appraised Value.

How to Come Up with Owner’s Requested Value

It’s hard to come up with an exact number for the Owner’s Requested Value.  And to make it more difficult, they are asking for you to break it down into Owner’s Requested Land Value and Owner’s Requested Buildings Value.  The way I went about it is to look at recent comparable sales to determine what my total home value should be.  There was a property on my street that is superior to my home with better land and building condition that recently sold for lower than my home’s Present Value.  I knew from that comp that my home should be valued lower than that.  From there I was able to determine the Total Owner’s Requested Value.  The difficult part is breaking down the Land Value versus the Building Value.  In my case, I know they overvalued my Land Value so I requested a bigger percentage reduction on my Land Value than the Building Value.

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The Board of Assessment Appeals hearing

After I received notice on my hearing date and time, I spent a lot of time gathering comparable sales data and market data to support my case.  I also included a few qualitative reasons as to why they should lower my Land Value.  My case for discounting my Land Value is that I have a shared driveway and my land is not level.  I printed photos of my land and brought it to the hearing.

At the hearing, you are assigned to a member of the Board of Assessment Appeals committee.  There are 5 members in the Board of Assessment Appeals.  You basically bring all your supporting documents and make a case to the board member.  The whole process took less than 30 minutes.  You are asked to leave and the members will consider your appeal and vote whether to sustain, increase or decrease your property’s assessed value.   A week or two later, I received a notice by mail from the Board of Assessment Appeals with their decision.  They decreased my assessed value!  I can’t believe I’m saying this but I can’t wait to get my new tax bill!*

*Actual Property tax depends on the Mill Rate which is set annually in May.

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