Depending upon where your rental properties are located it’s quite possible you’ve recently received your annual or biannual property tax bill. It’s a part of owning real estate and the method by which most municipalities and school districts help pay for public services and education.

Property taxes arelowering property taxes based primarily on the property value and the prevailing property tax rate. When rates and values rise, so too do property taxes. And the inverse is true although cutting property tax rates is something rarely seen. Apparently once the government establishes a tax rate it gets a bit used to the income.

The county appraiser who sets property values doesn’t appraise individual real estate in most cases. When a home is sold the value is typically a part of public record and is presented to the assessment office and the tax bill is mailed when due. Some states however keep sale information private and only notify the taxing authority of a change in ownership. In such an instance how does the county know the value? Or in a subsequent year, how does the county know how much to put on the property tax bill?

County assessors don’t have the resources to know the true market value of each property in the area but does have the ability to asses an estimated value based upon information known about similar properties in the area that have recorded a sales price. The assessor can then compare the known sale and extrapolate an estimated value. If you don’t agree with the assessment you can file an appeal and present your case. Be careful though, the county assessor is just as determined to get as much value as possible to bring in more tax revenue as you are to get your taxes lowered.

If you feel you’re being wrongly assessed, hire an appraisal for a full blow appraisal report all with recent comps and schedule a hearing. If you can provide such information you can get your taxes lowered. Without it, you don’t have much to stand on.