If you are an owner of commercial property, have you reviewed your assessment lately? Chances are that if you compare your current assessment to the current fair market value of the property, you will find that the property is being over-assessed, that is, at a value higher than the actual market value. If it is, you could be paying additional and unnecessary taxes now, as well as in the years to come.
How to Assess Your Commercial Property Value & Assets
Verifying the fair market value of a property is typically not a difficult task, regardless of whether the property is improved (buildings or structures located thereon) or unimproved (vacant with no structures). Similar properties in the general vicinity of the subject property that have either been sold or listed for sale are often a good measure in determining market value of the subject property.
If you believe your commercial property is being assessed too high, you can file an appeal with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation and request a reduction. The appeal can be filed at any time, and the process could involve several stages. There are first level appeals with the assessor from the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation that reviewed and assessed the value on the subject property. The assessment determines the taxes that the owner is required to pay. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the first level appeal with the assessor you can appeal to Harford County’s Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board, a panel consisting of three Harford County residents.
Adjusting Market Value for Your Commercial Property
The Board will schedule a brief hearing and you and/or your attorney or representative will be permitted to present your case on the property and request a fair reduction in the assessment, one which more accurately reflects market value. If you are not satisfied with the Board’s decision, you can appeal to the Maryland Tax Court. Keep in mind that if you are successful in reducing the assessed value, it may not only achieve a reduction in the current three year assessment cycle (properties are re-assessed every three years), but in future assessment cycles as well. The savings could be significant.
Market values of commercial properties have clearly declined in recent years. The assessment often does not reflect the declining market for several reasons, including the fact that a re-assessment only occurs every three years. Often, it is difficult for the State to “keep up” with fluctuating market values. At Snee, Lutche, Helmlinger & Spielberger, we have been very successful in achieving reduced assessments on a number of commercial properties.