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.

How to Appeal Your Connecticut Property Taxes

The Inspection

By law, towns are required to revalue properties at least once every 5 years. An inspector from the Town Assessor’s Office came to reassess my home.  She asked for permission to walk the exterior of my property.  In hindsight, I should have declined her request to inspect my property.  As the homeowner, you have the right to refuse the inspector from inspecting your property.  A few weeks after the inspection, I received a letter saying my property taxes increased because of a square footage increase! I was not happy. First of all, I did not make any improvements to my home.  I was kicking myself for letting the inspector inspect my property, but in hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise.

How to Apply for a Hearing with the Board of Assessment Appeals

After receiving the notice that my property taxes increased, I immediately submitted an application for a hearing with the Board of Assessment Appeals.  The application is available through the Town of Greenwich website.  It’s important to note that you need to submit your application for appealing your taxes by a postmarked due date. Read the letter carefully and follow the instruction so you don’t miss the appeals deadline. 

The application is pretty straight forward. You will need to fill out 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 the appraisal report 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 the 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 the 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 you to break it down into Owner’s Requested Land Value and Owner’s Requested Buildings Value.  The way I went about figuring out the land value and the building value 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 better building condition that recently sold for lower than my home’s Present Value.  I knew from that comparable that my home should be valued lower than that.  I basically took the sold price of the comparable property and discounted it by a few percent 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.

The Board of Assessment Appeals Hearing

I received a notice in the mail with a date and time for my hearing with the Board of Assessment Appeals. Prior to the hearing, 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 on a level lot.  I printed photos of my not-level 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.  I basically explained how I came up with my calculation and showed him my supporting documents (photos and comparable sales data). The whole process took less than 30 minutes.  You are asked to leave and the members vote whether to sustain, increase or decrease your property’s assessed value.   

Conclusion

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 successfully appealed my Connecticut Property Taxes! The revaluation was a blessing in disguise, if I hadn’t received the revaluation notice I would never have thought of appealing my property taxes.

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