Property Tax Appeals
Are you over-paying your property taxes?
While property values continue to drop in Minnesota, many people are finding that they are paying more than ever in property taxes. Why? Cuts in state aid have forced cities and counties across the state to increase tax levies to make ends meet.
You have rights
- Though property taxes may seem outside the control of home and business owners, individuals do have the right to challenge their tax assessment. Minnesota law allows any person with an interest in property to object to the tax assessed on that property if they believe it has been assessed unfairly.
- An unfair assessment is one that is unequal in comparison to other property in the city or county where the property is situated or when the property value used to make the assessment is greater than the property’s actual value.
- Anyone who objects to their property tax assessment as unfair has the right to have this claim reviewed by a district court in the county where the property lies or by the Tax Court.
- A taxpayer is allowed access the records of the property tax assessor in making their case that the assessment is unfair. The court will review the evidence presented by the taxpayer and the municipality in deciding whether to adjust or keep the original assessment. Not all challenges to property tax assessments reach the court, as the city or county levying the tax is allowed to offer to reduce the property’s valuation. If the taxpayer chooses to accept this offer, the parties can avoid going to court.
- The right to challenge a tax assessment is limited. A petition to consider an unfair assessment must be submitted by April 30th of the year that the tax is due and the petition must meet certain minimum standards and be served upon various different parties.
- A taxpayer may challenge an assessment even if they have already paid the tax and can be entitled to a refund, plus interest, if the court finds the assessment unfair, but if a claim of an unfair tax assessment is not resolved by certain dates throughout the year, the taxpayer will be required to make payments on the assessed amount as laid out by Minnesota law.
- Though appeals of a tax assessment are meant to be generally accessible to the public, there are various complexities in the laws governing the issue and to ensure that all requirements are met, a taxpayer would be well-served by hiring an attorney to help navigate the process.