How to Fight Your Property Taxes – And Win!

Posted on February 16, 2012 by

Lower Your Property TaxesEvery year, we get bombarded with questions from property owners asking how they can lower their property taxes.  Most feel their property taxes are higher than they should be.  Problem is, they don’t know what to do and wonder whether it’s worth the time and effort to fight.

In 2006, Kim and I were in that same boat.  But after watching the property taxes on our investment properties skyrocket from 2003 to 2006, we decided that enough was enough.  We made the decision to fight.  We didn’t care whether we won or lost, as long as we fought.

What kind of results did we get that first year?  Though we didn’t know what we were doing, we appealed the taxes on four of our properties – and won all four appeals!

Frankly, appealing your property taxes isn’t all that difficult – the rules are pretty straightforward.  But meeting with public officials and making your case in front of the Board of Equalization is VERY intimidating.  The shirt I wore that day still has sweat stains!

Know this: It gets better.  You get better.  You learn what to do and when to do it.  You learn what to say and when to say it.  For example, in 2011, we appealed our taxes on 17 properties.  We won all 17 cases and saved nearly $3,800!  Since 2006, we’ve won 55 of 63 appeals.  Not bad for a couple of mom-and-pop investors! 

Does it pay to fight your property taxes?  Let’s look at two examples: 1) English Turn, Cartersville GA: Our property taxes were about $2,250.  We got them lowered to $1,300 and saved $950!  2) New Hope Church Road, Acworth Georgia: Our property taxes were $590.  We got them lowered to $1.05 (Not a typo!) and saved $589.

For the record, we believe everyone should pay their fair share of taxes – but not one dime more!  Are you paying more than you should?  Who do you think is a better steward of your money – you or the government?

What do you do if you think your Georgia property taxes are too high?  Begin with a visit to your county’s Tax Assessor’s office.  I can’t speak for the rest of the state, but I can tell you that the folks in the Bartow County Tax Assessor’s office are GREAT to work with.  They are customer-service driven and will go out of their way to help you.

You know, it shouldn’t be called the “Tax Assessor’s” office.  It should be called the “Property Appraiser’s” office, because that’s what they actually do.  They determine the fair market value of your property.  They don’t set the amount you pay in property taxes.  Who determines how much you pay in property taxes?  Your elected officials – so vote wisely!

If you want to learn how to successfully fight your property taxes, join us at our February real estate investor’s meeting.  For more information about it, just visit our website.

Bill & Kim CookBill & Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team. They live in Adairsville, Georgia and have been investing in real estate since 1995. They specialize in buying single-family homes, mobile homes and mobile home parks. They also run North Georgia REIA and teach folks how to successfully invest in real estate.

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