Property tax is a significant expense of home ownership, so you want to make sure that your house is properly assessed. As home values frequently fluctuate and property features change, it's possible that your home could be overvalued. If that happens, then you will be paying more than your fair share of taxes.
Here is more information about how your property tax is assessed and what you can do if you think your home's assessment is too high.
How Property Tax is Assessed in Kansas
Calculating the amount of property tax you pay can be complicated. The statewide assessment is 11.5% of your home's appraised value minus $20,000. So if you have a $1,000,000 home, your assessed value is $112,700, and your tax is based on that.
The amount you actually pay is based on your county's millage rate (also known as mill rate) which depends on the county's budget and the value of all the property within its borders. These mill levies are applied to every $1000 of assessed value of your home. For example, if the mill levy for your county is 10, then you will have to pay $10 for every $1000 dollars of your home's assessed value.
Research Recent Property Values
Since property tax is directly related to your home's value, you should find out what the average price of homes are in your area. There are several online tools available to see what the houses around you have sold for recently. These numbers can help you determine if your home has been overvalued compared to other, similar houses in the area.
If you've recently bought your home, you also can possibly prove overvaluation with the paperwork from the sale using the exact value you paid for the home compared to the assessment.
Have Your Property Independently Assessed
In addition to doing your own research, you can greatly help your case by hiring an independent assessor. An independent assessor will complete a new assessment and also confirm information about the features of your home. This is important in cases where discrepancies could affect your home's tax assessment. These assessors are experts and will add authenticity to your case.
Check to Make Sure the Tax Record is Correct
After you have your property independently assessed, check to make sure your home's tax record is correct. If you have made any changes to your home or property, then your property values may also have changed.
For example, if you have erected or removed outbuildings or other features, then your home's value will be different. Also, tax records may have inaccurate information on things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms or square footage.
Determine If You Have Special Exemptions
Kansas, like other states, has certain exemptions that may reduce the amount of property tax you pay. For example, there are exemptions related to veterans, disabled veterans, seniors, and low income residents. There is even an homestead exemption. Even if your home was assessed properly, if you fall into one of these categories, you could be eligible for assistance.
Make Your Appeal
After you have done your research, have a meeting with the tax assessor to see if they will agree to a change in your tax amount. If they fail to make a change, then you should begin your administrative appeal within 30 days. Making your appeal requires following a strict set of guidelines as well as filing the correct paperwork within the deadlines. Failure to do so may mean you will have to wait until the next tax year to begin the process again.
If you feel that your home has been overvalued and that you are paying significantly more than you should, then you should file an appeal. Filing a property tax appeal can be a time consuming process with specific procedures and deadlines that must be followed. Therefore, it is beneficial to contact an attorney that can help you through the process.
Coffman DeFries and Nothern PA can help you through the entire process and work with accountants and appraisers to increase the chance the your appeal will be successful. Contact us for a consultation to get the process started.