Hiring a Tax Consultant to Challenge a Real Estate Tax Assessment

If you think your local tax assessor may have overvalued your site, it may be a good idea to hire a company that specializes in appealing real estate tax assessments. When tax assessors overvalue assisted sites, they mistakenly assume that an assisted site's value is similar to that of nonsubsidized sites in the area. They may assess an assisted site as though it had the income and marketability of a nonsubsidized site, even though HUD regulations limit rental income and hold down its sale value.

HUD also recognizes that assisted sites are often overvalued. It requires you to review each tax assessment and, if appropriate, file an appeal [Handbook 4350.1, par. 23-5]. Filing an assessment appeal is a prerequisite for getting HUD's approval for a rent increase to cover a tax hike.

But it's very tough to convince a local tax authority or a court that an assessor made a mistake. While you may be certain that your site has been overvalued based on what you know about property values in your area, you may not have the expertise needed to prove that an assessor made a mistake. The best way to get information about a tax appeal consultant is to ask the right questions at the beginning of your selection process. You should ask your questions in a letter you send to prospective tax consultants when you request their proposals for handling your business. To help you select a consultant, click here for a model letter that requests proposals from prospective tax appeal consultants.