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Dear PoP – Appealing DC property tax assessment?


Photo by PoPville flickr user Madame Meow

“Dear PoP,

So we bought our house in the in the Capitol hill area in late 2009, and we just got our 2012 property tax assessment, our second increase since we bought the place. I’m contemplating appealing, but not sure it’s worth the effort, and/or wondering if it’ll do more harm than good.

The current assessment is an increase of about 2.6%, bringing the assessed value up to about 3.6% more than we paid for the place about 1.5 years ago. I’ll admit this seems far from extreme, but when I take a look at Zillow for example, it shows 20002 down ~6% in the last year and “Near Northeast” down ~3.5%. I wander through the occasional open house and look at listings and my feeling about local prices is that they’ve been flat at best, if not slightly down as Zillow suggests.

So do I have grounds for an appeal? Should I bother? Do you have any idea how detailed their analysis really is? Do they actually go street by street, house by house, or do they just apply a percentage for each neighborhood based on some coarse measure?

We’ve made some improvements to our house. One of the neighbors just went through a very serious renovation and their property value has clearly gone way up. In reality mine has certainly gone up too as a result, probably more than the assessment shows, though I think it’s been too recent to actually make its way into this assessment. If I appeal will I end up with more focused scrutiny and end up doing myself more harm than good?”

I thought that it would be a good idea to appeal if your house (in similar condition) was assessed at a much higher value than homes nearby. I once appealed on those grounds a couple of years ago and won the appeal.

We discussed how tax assessment works here and discussed an appeal here and here.

Did anyone else’s assessment increase?

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