Fight Your Property Taxes And Don’t Let The Government Screw You!

fight property taxes

I love being a property owner. But I don't love paying property taxes. Alas, they're unavoidable. However, you should always fight your property taxes if the government over inflates your assessed value. This happened to me and I wasn't about to let the government screw me over.

Last year, I scored a victory against tyranny when I successfully fought sans lawyer to get the city to lower my assessed property value by 12%. If you've been reading this site for a while, you know I'm persistent as hell and will fight to the end for what I believe in. 

My insurance company tried to cheat me by saying my house was 50% larger than reality so they could charge 50% higher home insurance premiums. Nuh uh tricky dick! I was able to increase my coverage by some 30% and in the end only pay 13% more from the original cost.

Time To Fight Your Property Taxes

Well surprise, surprise. The city then tried to jack up my assessed property value by 17% for the next tax period to extract more money. But that's ridiculous since my house isn't made up of gold! 

Sure, the stock market has been performing well, but come on. A 17% increase would surpasses the all time high reached in 2007 by 3-4%. Things have recovered, but they haven't recovered that much.

One might argue that because the city lowered my assessed value for the previous tax period they are just normalizing the value to play catch up.  

But the problem is, once they reassess downwards, it is a legal admittance of what my property value is. They can't just all the of the sudden raise the value back to the original price and then some. I know the law and my rights.

Plus, we all know that California and many states have huge budget deficits. Trying to bulldoze taxpaying citizens into paying more than they should is wrong. 

The simple solution to state budget woes is to add a consumption tax, introduce the popular renters tax, reduce paperwork/red tape for small businesses, slowly reign in spending so as not to cause widespread chaos, and get out of our way.

If The City Is Screwing Me, They're Screwing You More

I know tons of people who panic or just completely surrender when the government or some organization comes after them. They think things like:

“What am I going to do?”

“I don't want to fight because I think I will lose.”

“They've got the lawyers, and I've got nothing.”

“It's going to take forever to fight and process the paperwork. It takes way too much effort.”

Come on now. Stand up for your rights and what you believe in! Don't be afraid to fight your property taxes. Big companies and government organizations bully customers and citizens ALL THE TIME. They are counting on us to roll over. 

It's part of their internal financial analysis. Just like how companies calculate that 10% of all gift card recipients will lose their cards, thereby increasing profitability!

I've demonstrated to you in the past that with knowledge and tenacity, you will have a high likelihood of succeeding in whatever you really believe in. 

Is Your Property Tax Bill Too High? Fight Your Property Taxes!

If you feel the government has incorrectly assessed your property value, fight your property taxes! You should know your home value better than the government. Not only that you should know the value of other homes in your area and recent comp sales.

Believe in your ability to lower your property tax bill if your instincts and the data tell you it's too high.

I could have been a good little zombie and let my insurance company charge me an extra $1,500 more a year but I didn't. And I could have let the government charge me thousands more in property taxes for the prior three years, but I didn't.

Isn't saving thousands of dollars from the hands of inept politicians worth it to you? Then, fight your property taxes! It's definitely worth it to me.

Financial Mismanagement: Blatant Desperation & Fraud

It continues to perplex me why anybody would ever vote for more government intervention in our lives. They've demonstrated how poorly they've managed their finances. 

For example, University California students now pay 60% more in tuition a year than just 2 years ago to pay for our welfare state. Ouch, but lesson learned!

I will always fight to keep as much of my hard-earned money as possible because I know that if the government takes it, they will waste at least 75% of it on nonsense. 

Just perusing through the SF Multiple Listing Service, I've found 3 comparables that can help support the fact that my house hasn't increased in value in one year. 

Gather Data On Comp Sales To Fight Your Property Taxes

I started looking for proof after they denied my initial e-mail saying they unfortunately couldn't find any houses to support my claim. Can you believe it? 

In just 5 minutes, I whipped up proof on 3 houses all within an 8 block radius. Really, they can't even find any? Talk about lying through their teeth.

Tax collector offices around the country are told behind closed doors to try and extract as much money from taxpayers as possible to shore up their state's budget deficits. If they do, they will get a better bonus, just like how cops are out in force to beat their ticket quotas at the end of each month.

Don't let the government beat you up and walk all over you. Fight for your principals until your oppressors know that you will never give up. That means fight your property taxes if they're too high!

If you want to know how to lower your property taxes click here. I've followed my own advice year after year. One time I argued with the city Property Tax Assessor himself on the phone for 45 minutes. He was being stubborn and didn't want to budge. I didn't back down and spent several hours after that gathering documentation to further prove my case. In the end, I won.

Remember, when it comes to valuing your property for tax purposes, you must create an Armageddon scenario so you can pay the least amount. On the flip side, when it's time to refinance or sell, you must then argue that your place is worth much more!

Related: Use Bad Pricing Estimates By Zillow And Redfin To Your Advantage

Photo: Clawful He-Man figure on skateboard by Sam.

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16 thoughts on “Fight Your Property Taxes And Don’t Let The Government Screw You!”

  1. Ben @ BankAim

    This is good to hear. My wife and I have had our house for a few years now and this is definitely something we will be watching for. Many houses in our area have dropped in value, will be interesting to compare the past few years prop taxes

  2. Doesn’t prop 13 limit the increase in property taxes each year? I thought is was a maximum of 2% a year and only a sale or improvement could change that.

    1. Prop 13 does indeed limit the amount of increases. However, if you successfully convince them to lower your purchase tax base say 15% as I have for the past several years, they get to increase it BACK up to the original purchase tax base +~2% allotment for Prop 13. Does this make sense?

      i.e. $1 million purchase. Lower to $850K for 2008, 2009, 2010. But in 2010-2011, then want to increase back up to $1mil + 2% = $1,020,000, which would be a 20% increase.

  3. Life is a fight Sam! Sometimes I do feel what if I lived in a jungle and eat bananas I would have become trouble free for life, then I thought, well, I might need to fought tigers, lions and guerrillas.

    Fighting against your city or insurance company is much easier than fighting with Tigers and lions my friends, keep fighting, when my turn comes I will do too.

    1. I just donno why some people just roll over and die, even if they KNOW it’s wrong and they are being bullied.

      Fight back people! This ain’t North Korea where they will throw dissenters into reform camp!

  4. Untemplater

    I totally agree the government only has their own interests in mind when it comes to property tax collection. My mom is a perfect example of someone who gives up without a fight. When she called her tax collector and asked what she needed to do to lower her assessment she actually believed the woman who craftily told her “it’s not worth it for you to try, you won’t be able to lower your value.” It takes confidence, conviction, and tenacity to beat the government at their game. Great job lowering your propery taxes Sam!

    1. Thx Syd! Big organizations love to take advantage of us. They totally count on Mom’s and dad’s and super busy people to roll over and not put up a fights

      It’s so worth fighting for what you believe in. I will happily use the extra several thousand bucks to live it up or invest.

  5. The property has doubled (not tripled), based on the cap rate/interest rate compression. But, I can’t let the city know that! Property owners who believe governments waste our money need to make our properties look as cheap as possible. It is our duty!

    1. Seems hypocritical to say that in your area all the restaurants and stores are packed, no on you know is unemployed, everyone has all type of hidden money from the stock market ups and downs, that your home value has doubled based on cap rates, yet you’re unwilling to admit the same good times have returned to your property values only when valued by government.

      Logically you really don’t have an argument, you just don’t want to pay more taxes. I think you’d have a better argument if the government didn’t revalue your property higher, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing their jobs…

      1. Of course it’s hypocritical! The goal of every property owner is to make their property worth the least in the eyes of the government to pay the least amount of taxes, and have the lowest operational costs. The property owner owes it to his/her own financials and to his/her family. And when it’s time to sell, to make it look as valuable as possible.

        Until we introduce a renters tax and broaden the tax base to not just property owners paying for schools and infrastructure in the local community, property owners need to fight to lessen their own burdens.

  6. Thanks for this post! I was always curious about fighting property taxes after my next door neighbor had her property tax lowered (her lawyer father helped).

    What I wonder is…if/when it comes time to sell your house, does it help to try and get a higher assessment? Many buyers / realtors look at the tax assessment and double it to determine a ballpark figure on the selling price. I’ve been putting off fighting my property taxes because of that. Would it have an impact on the selling price later?

    1. Artificially tanking your property to the city so you can pay lower taxes has ZERO impact when it comes time to sell your house because they are two independent entities. An appraisal only lasts for 3 months, then you have to get another.

      Hence, when it comes time to sell, you just have the appraiser choose the real market value, or an inflated market value. It’s all one big game that you have to play along!

  7. I found another thing that is worse where you live than I do- higher property taxes! My tax assessment hasn’t gone up in ages, and I pay about 40 percent less in taxes than I did when I first moved in. Of course, I am speaking sarcastically about it being better here because losing so much in property value is a real bummer. However, I think my house is actually undervalued (we did renovations), so I don’t dare say a word.

    1. Wow, 40% LESS in taxes than when you first moved in? I think that’s GREAT actually! B/c your house is a about living life and paying the least amount for it!

      Don’t ever let the city know you put Brazilian Cherry Wood floors and diamond door knobs!

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