In today’s dynamic business landscape, property owners face a myriad of challenges. Not only are they tasked with day-to-day business concerns, but they increasingly find themselves facing overinflated assessments that don’t align with their properties’ true value. Commercial property tax appeals are the best way to combat such discrepancies — but those, too, add additional tasks to already busy schedules.
Joining with a professional property tax firm such as Lane Property Tax Advocates allows you to pass time-consuming protest prep along to a team that handles such work each day. But to make the most of your protest team’s time, knowledge and energy, and to position their efforts for success, efficiency is key.
In this blog post, Lane’s professionals walk you through not only why procrastination can spell trouble for fighting your unfair commercial property tax valuations, but the many ways your tax firm is here to help — and simple steps you can take to get started. Read on, take note and prepare to unburden your business as tax season approaches.
When Should You Submit Your Property Tax Assessment Appeal Information?
An early start is the best option when it comes to fighting high commercial property taxes — even when you’re entrusting a professional team to handle the work for you. In general, although your property tax protest isn’t due until May 15, it’s a good idea to reach out to your tax firm as soon as your value notice arrives in the mail. Here are a few reasons why.
- More Time for Your Team to Build a Solid Case: Remember, the process of protesting your commercial property taxes is something akin to pleading a case in court. The sooner you engage your protest team and provide requisite property information, the more time they have to meticulously gather and organize evidence to support your argument. Once your team has basic information in hand, they can begin the following:
- Thorough Review of Your Property Assessments: Your team will closely examine both your current and prior commercial property tax assessments, seeking to identify any inaccuracies that may be inflating your property's value.
- Compilation of Comprehensive Evidence: Your protest team will collect and organize documentation that presents a clear picture of your property portfolio — your properties’ condition, any completed improvements, necessary repairs and the like.
- In-Depth Market Analysis: Your protest team will carry out thorough market analysis to assess how your property compares to others of similar size or use in your geographic area. This strategic approach strengthens your position during negotiations and hearings.
- Less Stress for You, the Commercial Property Owner: Property tax appeals can be stressful for anyone who doesn’t take part in such work on a daily basis. The uncertainty of the outcome, coupled with the time-consuming intricacies of the process, often leads to anxiety. Submitting your appeal information early can significantly mitigate this stress by providing you with a clear path forward.
- Lower Likelihood of Delays on Your Protest Team’s End: Ideally, your property tax team will provide a level of service that makes your business feel like its one and only client. In truth, however, most firms maintain a long list of clients — and client needs — that they’re balancing during any given tax season. Submitting your information early on ensures your properties are on your team’s radar and will receive adequate attention in a timely manner.
Getting Started: Information to Submit to Your Commercial Property Tax Appeal Service
Once you’ve made the decision to protest your commercial property taxes (something the Lane team recommends doing each year) and selected your property tax appeal service team, it’s time to provide that team with the information needed to begin work.
In addition to basics such as your name, contact information and property addresses, you’ll want to provide data that gives your team an in-depth, accurate understanding of the properties they’ll be helping you with. This can include:
- Recent Photos: High-quality images of your property, both interior and exterior, can serve as crucial evidence as they provide a visual representation of your property's current condition. Include images of any extras that make your property unique, updates (both completed and underway) and areas that require repairs, replacement or related TLC.
- Receipts for Repairs or Improvements: Any documentation related to recent improvements or renovations can support your argument for a reduced assessment. Repair estimates from a licensed contractor are acceptable for needed improvements that are not yet in the works.
- Lease Agreements: If applicable, provide copies of lease agreements for anyone renting space in your properties. This helps to demonstrate your property’s income potential and limitations.
- Comparable Sales Data: Information on recent comparable sales in your area can help establish a fair market value for your property. Your protest team can and will actively seek out such data, but any information you are able to provide can help to expedite the process.
- Property Tax Statements: Include copies of your recent property tax statements, as they contain essential details about your assessed value and tax liability. Providing years’ worth of data to your protest team can also help them pinpoint shifts and trends they can address when presenting an argument on your behalf.
As with any undertaking that can impact your business’s financial well-being, it pays to stay on top of your commercial property tax assessment appeal — and to begin the process as quickly as possible. Having the right team at your side can make a tremendous difference, too, and your Lane team is ready to help.
If you have questions about your commercial property tax valuations, are interested in learning how Lane can help you unburden your business or would simply like to know more about the protest process in general, feel free to reach out to our tax pros at any time. Our team loves what we do, and we look forward to hearing from you!