"Property Tax Protester Beware"

The Downside of Appealing

October is not exactly high season for property tax appeals: it’s too late to contest 2010 valuations — set way back in January — and too soon to challenge as-yet undetermined 2011 taxes (due to a lag, property taxes in MN are set each January 2 for the following year).

Yet, disgruntlement with property taxes has been an undercurrent at practically every Sunday open house I’ve hosted this year.

Up until last week, my standard advice was, “if you think your tax assessed value is too high, go ahead and try to challenge it — you’ve got nothing to lose.”

Well, apparently, you do.

At an open house last Sunday, I ran into the first documented instance of a (Minneapolis) homeowner having their property taxes raised as a consequence of protesting their tax assessed value.

I don’t believe that this is common, and certainly wouldn’t generalize from one instance.

However, no Realtor — myself included — wants to see a client bit by this.

So, my new advice is, “make sure you’re not in fact under assessed before trying to protest your bill.”

P.S.: I had an economics professor whose grading policy on exams was that anyone who felt that their grade was too low was free to challenge it. However, he made clear that he would review the entire exam — not just the disputed part — to find offsetting mistakes. In other words . . “don’t bother.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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