Property Tax Appeals

Federal Appraisal provides complete property tax appeals services.  We provide: 

  • Assessment review and strategy/goal planning – Is a property over-assessed, under-assessed, or fairly assessed?  What should the target reduction or increase be?  Is the likely reduction or increase adequate given the risks, timing, and costs?
  • Compliance & document submissions and preparation
  • Pre-Assessment presentations, submissions, meetings, and negotiations
    • Representation/advocacy or appraisal services
  • Informal appeal services
    • Representation/advocacy or appraisal services
  • Formal appeal services
    • Process management and/or appraisal services and expert testimony


Real and personal property  is taxed by state and local jurisdictions, based on the market value of the property. This kind of tax is known as an “Ad Valorem” tax, meaning “of value” or based on value as opposed to income or sales.  The process begins with an assessor’s estimate of the market value of the property.  On occasions, the assessors use information the property owners must file with the assessors.  Often the assessor’s estimate of market value is converted to an assessed value, before the tax rate is applied. The assessed value is a percentage of market value.  Property owners sometimes believe that they are under assessed because they fail to convert their assessed values back into market values in their assessment review process.  

Real property taxes are levied in all 50 states and are common around the world.  Personal property is taxed in about 40 states.  They represent one of the major sources of funding for schools and local governments.

The Appeal Process

The property tax appeal process, unlike the income and sales tax reporting process, is reactive.  In income and sales tax reporting, the taxpayers calculate their taxes and the taxing jurisdiction deciding whether it wishes to dispute it.  In the property tax process, the assessor decides what the  property owner should pay and the property owner must then react and decide whether to dispute the assessment.  In most cases the process relieves the property owner of the time consuming and costly reporting burden because the assessors estimate an appropriate market value and assessment; however, for all high value properties, say $3,000,000 or higher, and all special purpose properties and all properties experiencing significant changes in value, prudent management dictates that the assessment must be reviewed by the property owner, whenever an assessment is established.  Many property owners fail to complete this essential activity.  The failure to appeal an assessment can result in the substantial overpayment of taxes.

The appeal process may begin with properly prepared pre-assessment submissions, when required or when advantageous and permissible. Many jurisdictions allow meetings with the assessors prior to the establishment of assessed values.  This is a cost-effective way to secure a reasonable assessment.  The counsel of a property tax expert is strongly recommended for this process.  Once the assessment is establish, prudent managers should avail themselves of the informal and non-legal venues that some jurisdictions provide to tax payers.   Again, the counsel of a property tax expert is strongly recommended for this process.  

Lastly, when the other venues prove unable to provide relief, a taxpayer can pursue their appeal in court or other formal, legal venue as per the taxing jurisdiction procedure.  The counsel of an attorney, an appraiser and a property tax expert is strongly recommended.

Also see our Property Taxes and our Property Tax Management pages.