Spring is here and so are the yearly tax assessments. The tax value is used as one factor when determining your property taxes. The other part of the equation is the tax rate. The tax rate is set based on the needs of your locality (i.e Fairfax County or Falls Church City etc.) The locality will determine their budget and based on that they will set the tax rate to finance that.
This may be a surprise to you but the tax assessed value has little effect on the resale value of your home. Nevertheless, I meet people all the time saying they have found some secret formula to calculate a likely sales price based on the tax assessed value. There are also Realtors that use the tax assessed value as part of their offer basis for their buyer clients (“I will not have my clients pay above the tax assessed value”.) And then there is the homeowner that proudly called me up to tell me how they had just increased the value of their home by appealing their too-low tax assessment (the county was more than happy to increase the assessed value…)
The tax assessed value is typically done by a mass estimating process. In general, there isn’t a tax person coming out to your specific house to look at what features and upgrades you have. So, if you have a great view or power lines above your home or are against a busy road the tax value may not correctly adjust for that. For more information on how assessments are done you can visit the Fairfax County website at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta/FAQ_Determine_Correct.htm
If you believe your assessed value is above what you can currently sell your home for, you can appeal the assessment. Support your argument with similar sales in your neighborhood and/or by looking at the assessed value of similar homes in your area. If you live in Fairfax County you can search online at http://icare.fairfaxcounty.gov/Main/Home.aspx for recent sales and assessment values.