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All property owners in Arizona are required to pay their property taxes for the first half of the year on October 1st and the second half of the year on March 1st of the following year.  They become delinquent one month after each of those dates.

Your property tax bill can be an unwelcome surprise, especially for new homeowners.  If you suspect the assessed value of your property is not correct, we have put together a simple guide to understanding how property taxes are calculated in Arizona.  You may be able to contest the value and get your property tax bill reduced if you are able to present the required evidence for the reduced valuation of your property.

Property Tax Calculation in Arizona

There are two figures used to calculate your property tax bill in Arizona:  the taxable value of your property and the tax rate used by your local tax authorities.  The taxable value of your home is determined by the county tax assessor.  In Arizona, the taxable value of your home is calculated as 10% of the open market value of your home.  This can fluctuate significantly as property values in your area go up and down.

The local tax rate varies depending on the city, and even neighborhood, in which you own property.  The average tax rate in Maricopa County is roughly .8% of the taxable value of your home.  For example, if your home has a current market value of $250,000, then the taxable value would be $25,000.  Thus, applying the tax rate to the taxable value, you would pay around $2000 in property taxes.

While Arizona does generally have some of the lowest property tax rates in the country, the actual tax rate can be significantly higher. The figures used here are just estimates to illustrate how property tax is calculated.  Payment of property tax is broken up into two separate due dates.  The first is due on Oct 1st and the second is due on March 1st of the following year.

Review Property Tax Records

If you suspect your property tax bill is too high, then you will want to review your property tax records.  It is not uncommon for property tax records to be inaccurate or incomplete, resulting in the property tax assessor assigning an incorrect valuation.  To review your property tax records or receive a copy, You can visit your tax assessor’s office.  If you are not sure where your property tax assessor’s office is located, you can find it on the Arizona Association of Counties website.

The property tax records will allow you to confirm that your property is classified correctly, the size of the home and lot is accurate, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is correct, the age of the home is accurate, and the purchase price is correct.  You may even want to make sure they have correctly recorded any defects in the home and that there are no improvements assigned to the property that do not exist.  MacQueen & Gottlieb can help you review your property tax records, especially if there are serious discrepancies.

Check Comparable Properties for Valuation

A familiar concept in real estate is the utilization of comparable homes or properties.  In other words, the same process used for sale valuation is used to determine the accurate valuation for the property tax bill.  You may want to work with a real estate agent to find this information, but since there are now many alternative resources online, it is usually no longer necessary.  Websites like Zillow or Trulia can help you determine the sale price of homes or properties in your area.

Challenging the Taxable Value of Your Property in Arizona

Once you have collected the information and evidence about the valuation of your property, and you determine that a mistake has been made, you will need to present this information to the tax assessor.  This can be as simple as providing the information to them, having them agree with the findings, and update the valuation of your home for the tax valuation.  However, it will not always be that simple.  If you find yourself needing to pursue an administrative appeal for your property valuation, you will want to work with an experienced real estate attorney to handle the process effectively.

MacQueen & Gottlieb has significant experience with property tax valuations and can represent you with the administrative appeal process.  Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment online.

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