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Taxing Issues

[whitespace] Fight a Property Tax Bill

Where to File an Appeal: Formal assessment appeals must be filed with the clerk of the Board of Supervisors (10th floor, 70 W. Hedding St.) between July 2 and Sept. 15. Appeal forms are kept with the clerk's receptionist. An actual hearing before the assessment appeals board may take months, so homeowners must pay their contested bill in advance and wait for a refund if they prevail. Clerk: 299-4321.

How to Make a Case: Owners must have documentation showing why their assessment should be lower. It's a good idea to have a list of sales prices of comparable homes recently sold in the same neighborhood. That information is often available in the newspaper; if that doesn't work, call a local Realtor or the agent who sold your home. The appeals board will consider other relevant factors like nearby toxic spills, flood or fire damage and poltergeist infestation as long as it can be demonstrated that they affect market value.

Over-the-Phone Appeal: In May the assessor sends out early notices informing homeowners of the taxable value of their land. Owners have about one month from then to protest their assessment by calling a number listed on the notice. No personal appearance is required. Comparable-sales data can be faxed to the assessor.

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From the March 5-11, 1998 issue of Metro.

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