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January 11, 2022

Your Guide to Determining Property Tax Appeal Opportunities

Five key steps to help organize property tax appeal data and streamline your decision-making processes

Appealing your property tax assessments is one of the most important ways to control property tax liabilities and improve your bottom line. But choosing which assessments to appeal can be challenging; reviewing historical data, ensuring alignment with your broader business objectives, and gaining insight into jurisdictional trends or nuances all influence whether or not you should appeal.  

How should you decide what property tax appeals to file?

To help you answer this question, we’ve compiled a 5-step guide with tips for what to consider when looking for property tax appeal opportunities and how you can leverage dedicated software to make better appeal decisions.  

Your 5-Step Guide to Filing a Property Tax Appeal

1. Organize all relevant data

An important first step is to make sure you have all the data you need to make an informed decision. This includes the most recent assessment for each property in your portfolio, as well as other data including:

  • General property information (location, age, area, use, etc.)
  • Historical property assessments and values
  • Property history of changes (additions, demolitions, renovations, etc.)
  • Existing exemptions, abatements, incentives, and whether your values are capped

Additionally, you’ll also want to make sure you have access to market data that will help you make strategic choices:

  • Sales and market data, including similar sales and neighbouring property valuations
  • Jurisdictional nuances, such as incentive programs and appeal procedures  

This data can be gathered from third-party data providers, consultants, and jurisdictions and assessor’s websites. If you use a dedicated solution like itamlink, your data might already be stored and organized, which can help save time during this step.  

2. Review your strategic plan to narrow your appeal focus

Determining which property tax appeals to file will tie back to your broader property tax management strategy. Fluctuations, events, or priorities in your portfolio may impact which assessments you choose to appeal, and some property tax appeals may be a higher priority to you.

For instance, you might:

  • Avoid filing appeals for assessments that are "close enough" and not worth the time and effort to pursue,
  • Skip an appeal because you believe the cost benefit is not in your favour,  
  • Leave out appeal opportunities because filing too many (or “blanket appealing”) may hurt relationships at the local level, or  
  • Focus your efforts on certain property classes or types that are more in line with your corporate priorities and strategies.

Other changes in your portfolio may also impact whether you decide to appeal. Upcoming renovations, constructions, or demolitions may all play into your appeal strategy for current and future appeals.  

3. Review your assessments in relation to relevant sales and market data

Now that you’ve organized your data and narrowed your list somewhat based on your strategic plan, you should review your property tax assessments in relation to sales and market data. During this stage, your review may include an analysis of:

  • Value trends and comparable properties (both within and outside your portfolio),
  • Sales, cost, and income data,
  • A detailed analysis of the assessment records

Software tools such as itamlink’s Parcel Overlay can help you compare values pertaining to your own and neighbouring properties in an easy-to-use, visual map. At the end of this stage, you should have a shortlist of potential appeal opportunities.

4. Consult consultants or third parties for expert advice

Once you’ve developed your shortlist, it’s beneficial to work with your consultants and other advisors. That’s because they typically have relationships at the local level and can guide your team through the appeal process. Consultants and advisors can therefore provide insights on key areas pertaining to your portfolio, including jurisdictional trends, incentives and opportunities.  

They can help review your shortlist and provide their expert advice and opinions. Once you’ve consulted with them, you can take a final review of your list, then file your appeals.  

5. Track important appeal dates and deadlines

While it’s important to accurately determine appeal opportunities, it’s equally important to ensure you don’t miss any appeal deadlines. Leveraging calendaring systems can help keep you on track throughout the entire appeal process, from filing to resolution. Many companies also work with their consultants/advisors during this step to help execute the appeals.  

Making sure you stay well informed of appeal statuses and events along the way ensures that you don’t miss any critical milestones within your appeal processes. Property tax management solutions such as itamlink offer in-app and external notifications to help your team file your appeal on time and make sure necessary dates and deadlines are tracked accordingly.  

Traditionally, appeal opportunities are determined on a property-by-property basis, where individual properties are manually analyzed for potential opportunities. Identifying appeal opportunities at a portfolio level rather than property-by-property can be a big time and money saver for your company. Fortunately, this can be completed with software to centralize your dataset and ensure that no potential tax-saving opportunities are missed.  

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© 2023 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved
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© 2023 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved