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  • Is this a joke? The game is rigged against homeowners because when you challenge an appeal, you can’t challenge the criteria that the assessors use to arrive at the value of your house. So even if you can easily demonstrate that comparable houses around you are selling for less, then that is completely irrelevant. I’ve gone through this a couple times now and will probably do it a third since I’m a glutton for punishment, but their algorithms are apparently unassailable. As far as I can tell the review process is just to allow if there’s been some mistake about how many bedrooms or bathrooms you have, but nothing like the obvious of comparable houses selling for much less than what you’re being taxed at.

    • Maybe you should attend the workshop before your next appeal?

    • ah

      Having been through a couple of appeal I agree – I submitted an assessment put together for a mortgage application made only weeks before the purported assesment date (Dec. 31). It contained multiple bases for evaluation (as is typical – comps, rebuild cost, etc.) Appeal rejected.

    • I had no problem getting mine knocked down a few pegs a few years ago when they finally got around to realizing our neighborhood was appreciating, but overshot a bit. I submitted 7 sale comps, 5 assessment comps, and a sale price trend I found online from a local real estate company (might have been Keller Williams) which showed that prices spiked at the time one higher-priced sale occurred in the neighborhood, but had come back down a bit in general (all 12 sale/assessment comps I submitted were lower than the proposed assessment, but I did address the one higher-priced sale in case that was their basis…I also described how that home differed from mine). A few hours of research, 15 minutes on the phone, and the assessor knocked 1/3 of the proposed increase off (that amounted to somewhere in the neighborhood of $20K less than the original proposed assessment). It’s remained stable since (up or down $2-3K/year).
      .
      YMMV, but my assessment was clearly out of line with neighborhood market values. I demonstrated that, and basically prevailed. There’s a list of the types of evidence they’re looking for on the site. Note that if you recently purchased your home, they’re unlikely to assess below what you paid for it. There’s no better comp than what you paid for your own home in the last year-ish, after all.

  • I’d be curious to know the percentage of properties that actually assess above fair market value. I bought in a “transitional” neighborhood in 2005 and the assessment has risen each year, but still remains comfortably below the appraised value done for a recent refi. I would think this would be the norm given the rise in real estate prices over the last few years, but maybe I’m mistaken. Am I just lucky in my assessor assignment? Or is there a drag on assessed values if you live in a neighborhood where assessments were historically much lower?

  • How often is the city supposed to do assessments? I have had my house for 3 years and our taxes have been re-assessed and gone up each year. I thought they only assessed every 2 years. Is that possible grounds for an appeal?
    I generally think that my assessed amount is fair, if not a little low, and I think it’s my responsibility to pay my fair share of taxes (ie I’m not some anti-govt tea partier). But I just get so irritated that I am paying more and more to the city and yet crime is increasing in my neighborhood with no response, and basic city services like 911 are in shambles. It would be nice to feel like the tens of thousands of dollars I give to this city every year are actually well spent.

    • The assessment is supposed to be done each year, and you normally receive it at the same time as your first property tax bill in March.

      I assume that by “tens of thousands of dollars” you are also referring to your DC income tax. DC property taxes are actually relatively low (ask anyone in places like New Jersey or Connecticut).

      I actually feel that even with all of the obvious corruption and mismanagement in DC (streetcars anyone?),
      I see some tangible value for my DC taxes. Federal taxes are a different story. The notion that they are handing bags of taxpayer money to warlords in places like Afghanistan drives me nuts. But like it says on the IRS Building, “Taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society.”

  • I got our assessment last week, and while it went up I’m not bothered because it’s still below what we paid. However, the assessment lists two prices – the value and the taxable value (less the homesteader exemption). The same day we got the tax bill for the first half of the year and it was based on the larger number. Is that right? Do we pay based on the value and somehow get a refund for the homestead exemption at the end of the year? Or should the tax bill have been based on the taxable value, not the total value?

    • If you look at the “Additional Information” section on the tax bill, you should see an explanation of the Assessment Credit (if applicable), the Homestead Deduction, and the corresponding amount of reduction in your tax bill. So the credit and deduction is already factored into the amount that you are actually paying.

  • My property taxes went up 24% this year, is that possible? I heard that raising it more than 10% is illegal, but can’t find anything in writing to back up that claim.

    Thank you for the help.

    • There is an “Assessment Cap Credit” that limits increases to 10%. The eligibility requirements for that cap basically aligns with the Homestead Deduction (§ 47-850 DC Code). Assessment cap eligibility:

      >The property was not sold or transferred to a new owner in the previous tax year;
      >The dwelling is the owner’s principal residence (an owner can receive a credit only on one property – the principal residence);
      >There was no change in the zoning classification requested by the owner, which resulted in an increased value of the property;
      >The previous assessment was not clearly erroneous;
      >There was no significant construction or rehabilitation to the property that caused at least a 10 percent increase in the value of the improvements.

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