Deadline to Appeal Pay
2020 Property Tax Assessment Extended from April 30 to May 30
It does not take a crystal ball to predict that the COVID-19 pandemic will reduce or slow the growth of property values in Minnesota. While the full impact of COVID-19 won’t be known for some time, if your property is already over-assessed or you are anticipating significant declines, then this is your opportunity to preserve your ability to seek a reduction in taxes payable in 2020. Given how backed up assessors are, it is common to have to file multiple appeals over several years before cases are resolved. As such, filing an appeal in 2020 will likely allow you to obtain a faster resolution of appeals made in 2021 and beyond and to potentially negotiate a multi-year deal during a period when values may be most depressed as a result of COVID-19.
Here is some more information related to challenging your property tax assessment:
Fair Market Value. Properties are supposed to be assessed at their fair market value. Fair market value is generally determined by these three approaches:
- Comparable Sales – comparing your property to other properties which have recently sold;
- Cost – determining what a new version of your property would cost, minus depreciation; and
- Income – used only for income-producing property, extrapolating a valuation from the income generated on the property.
Challenging Pay-2021. For taxes payable in 2021, preliminary tax statements are in the process of being issued, and you will have the opportunity to discuss with your local assessor or take advantage of other informal processes described on your statement. The assessor may wish to conduct an inspection of your property as well.
Challenging Pay-2020. For taxes payable in 2020, more formal resolution is likely necessary. As discussed above, the deadline to appeal your assessment to the Minnesota tax court is fast approaching on May 30, 2020. The already challenging process for filing and service of property tax petitions has become more challenging during the pandemic, but Bridge Law Group, Ltd. is prepared to assist clients in this regard. It would be best to start the process sooner than later to allow extra time for service on various county officials, many of which have closed their offices to public access.
Tax Court Process. The appeals process is slow – typically over a year. However, the majority of property tax appeals settle before reaching the time or expense of trial. Usually a deal can be negotiated between attorneys and assessors, but other times it becomes necessary to hire an appraiser. In many cases settlements can cover multiple tax years going forward, multiplying the tax savings from bringing a challenge and setting a new standard for how the government views your property.
Tax Court Costs. Court filing and service costs range from $210 to $400 depending on the property (there is a small claims option primarily for lower value properties). Appraisal fees will depend on the appraiser and the nature of the property, but they are not always necessary. Attorneys’ fees can vary as well, but the attorneys at Bridge Law Group, Ltd. would be happy to provide an initial consultation free of charge. We are open to different fee structures, including contingency options.
Caution. Though this is less likely after COVID-19, if your property is actually worth more than the government has assessed, then drawing your assessor’s attention to it may backfire. The same factors which cause a property to be over-assessed can also cause it to be under-assessed: assessors are generally busy and don’t have time to devote significant attention to every property every year. With that in mind, if you do not have a strong sense of what your property is worth, then you may wish to consult with an appraiser or other real estate professional before deciding whether to contest your valuation.
If you have questions or would like to commence the tax court process, then please feel free to reach out to attorney David Klink or another Bridge Law Group, Ltd. attorney to schedule a consultation
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