Skip to comments.Dave Says Move!
Posted on 03/07/2012 5:14:49 AM PST by Kaslin
We keep getting offers in the mail from a law firm that offers to protest the assessed value of our home for property tax purposes. They say that well pay them nothing if they cant save us money, but if they do the fee is 50 percent of the property tax savings. Do you think its ethical to dispute these findings, and are these services legitimate?
Theres no real problem with this, so long as there are no up-front fees. The real question, though, is whether your assessment is accurate.
First, there would have be some kind of basis for the protest like if your assessment is really out of line compared to similar homes in the neighborhood. Usually, they arent assessed at 100 percent. But if you discovered that a comparable home was assessed at 73 percent and yours was based on 82 percent, then youd have both an ethical and legal right to protest the assessment.
I think one of two things will happen. If you talk to this firm, youre either going to find out that theres something going on with the tax base that makes them think they can actually reduce the numbers, or theyre going to try and hit you with a processing fee or some other kind of garbage.
If this is the case, you should just walk away.
The job I have currently is about to be phased out, and Im looking at two other offers. The pay for both is the same. One is short-term, nine months to a year, and it has a per diem so I wouldnt have to move. The other job would last much longer, but Id have to move and that would throw me about $3,500 further into debt. This company acts like it doesnt want to help with the moving expenses, but I think Id like the job better. What do you think I should do?
Id move. And Id also try to negotiate the heck out of this company and get them to foot some of the bill for the move.
If youre valuable enough, and they like you enough to want you on their team, then Id use that as a negotiating point before accepting the position. Tell them that you really want the job and youre excited about it, but the only thing holding you back is $3,500 in moving costs.
You never know until you ask. And at that point they may see the wisdom of kicking in some cash to make it easier for you to decide!
Dave missed the boat with the first question.
If that law firm can save you 50 percent on your property tax bill, then so can you. It’s not hard to file a protest. It’s not hard to find comparables. In Texas, the Appraisal District will even help you in this process.
And if you do it yourself.... it’s all free.
Here in Cook County IL we are on a three year reassessment cycle. I have one of these firms appeal my taxes after every reassessment cycle. The typical savings is around $300 a year for 3 years, at a cost of $150.
Seems reasonable to me, considering the time and aggravation of preparing my own appeal.
My city is in a ton of debt and is not cutting much of anything. Yet last fall a 30% increase in their portion of property tax was approved in a millage vote. I was bound and determined to appeal my assessment, but they gave a 2 day notice!
Sneaky government bastiges!
Thanks Kaslin for posting the article.
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If youre valuable enough, and they like you enough to want you on their team, then Id use that as a negotiating point before accepting the position. Tell them that you really want the job and youre excited about it, but the only thing holding you back is $3,500 in moving costs. Exactly. And if the company is worried that you might move, take the money, and then quit in three months, let them agree (in writing) to pay it once you've been on the job six months. I realize this means you have to carry it in the meantime, but it might address their concern if they have one.
Just don’t forget that the IRS is going to get their share of that moving money.
I doubt it. I’m sure it would be viewed as a reimbursable expense, like if you bought some materials on your credit card, then turned in the receipt for reimbursement. I suppose it’s possible that moving assistance is taxable but I doubt it.
it’s not quite all free...the ultra-lib ruled county in FL where I used to live would play this game every year. They would fudge the numbers on evaluations like crazy. If they weren’t disputed, it was a win for them, if they were disputed, they got to collect the dispute fee from the taxpayer who was protesting their erroneous valuations. My friend was 28-0 in his disputes with those clowns. I think I was up to 7-0 before I moved...
A lot of people who were relocated by the company when my building closed - a very nice relo package from Sonoma County to Bakersfield by State Farm - found out the hard way that the benefits- sometimes valued at $40K+ - were subject to income tax and raised their bracket. They were not happy.
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