Spring is here and so are the yearly tax assessments. The assessment values were mailed to homeowners in Fairfax County back in February – however the final tax bill was just recently decided.
The tax value is one of the factors used when determining your property taxes. The other part of the equation is the tax rate. With increasing tax assessments, the tax rate was reduced from $1.23 in 2002 to just 89 cents in 2006 in Fairfax County. With falling home values, the tax rate has climbed steadily ever since.
For FY 2011 the proposed tax rate is $1.07 ($1.09 was suggested previously.) For the average tax payer the tax bill should remain pretty much the same as from last year according to Fairfax County. For more info and opinions on the real estate taxes see Fairfax County and Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance.
In case you didn’t know – the tax assessed value has little or no effect on the resale value of your home. That being said, I do have people coming up to me (usually at parties) claiming they have found some secret formula to calculate a likely sales price based on the tax assessed value. There are also Realtors in the current market that use the tax assessed value as an argument for a price reduction for their buyer clients (“I will not have my clients pay above the tax assessed value”.) And then there is the person that called me up to tell me how they had just increased the value of their home by appealing their too-low tax assessment (county was of course more than happy to increase their tax 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. Also, that your unit looks into the wall of the home next door as oppose to the lake on the other side of the building, is not generally reflected either. For more information on how it is done, just go to the Fairfax County website at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta/realestate_faq.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/Search/GenericSearch.aspx?mode=ADDRESS for recent sales and assessment values.