Don't give up on property tax assessment appeals

December 15, 2009

Richard Landis is on the right track, battling the Maryland Sate Department of Assessments and Taxation to get fair market value for his Anne Arundel County home. ("Buyers find relief to costly hints of homes' past worth," Dec. 13).

Mr. Landis paid $165,000 for his home and was assessed at $268,000, prompting him to appeal his property tax assessment, a similar situation to what my daughter ran into in Montgomery County. My daughter, Alison Whitty, and her husband paid $385,000 for their 1950 brick rancher in Silver Spring but were assessed at $531,000 for it.

I helped my daughter go through the appeals process in which she got a meager $30,000 reduction at the first step. We found the assessor and her supervisor to be arrogant and unfair. We were asking for a reduction of over $140,000.

However, at the second step (the Property Tax Assessments Appeals Board), we encountered people who realized how unfair the assessment was and gave my daughter an additional $84,000 reduction. She is now only $32,000 away from the full fair market value, a reduction she hopes to get at the third step: the Maryland Tax Court. (She is still waiting for a date to appear.)

I suggest that property owners who feel they're being treated unfairly go through all three of the appeals steps, if necessary, in order to get a decent reduction to their property in a falling real estate market.David Boyd, White Hall

The writer is co-founder of Property Taxpayers United.

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