One of the highest financial burdens to a commercial property owner is property tax. Given the complex nature of evaluating property tax assessments, some property owners might find that they’re paying higher taxes than they should for their property.
Challenging a property tax assessment
The Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board (ATB) is the state agency sanctioned with undergoing hearings and making decisions regarding state and local property taxes. The ATB is authorized to reduce property taxes for a specific property through an ‘abatement.’ Here are some of the justifications for a taxpayer to legally challenge a property tax assessment:
- If the property owner can show that the market value of the property in question is lower than its assessment, the ATB may be persuaded to lower that property’s taxes. A taxpayer can support their claim by the price of sale of similar properties in their area and through the tax assessments of similar local properties.
- A property owner may find that their property has been misclassified in its tax assessment or is eligible for a tax exemption.
Following the proper procedure
A taxpayer cannot withhold taxes while they file an appeal with the ATB. The property owner must comply with the requirements that allow the ATB to proceed with an appeal, including timely payment of real estate taxes, proper filing of abatement applications and the appeal to the ATB. Challenging a tax assessment is a complicated and nuanced process. It would help if you had an attorney experienced in commercial real estate to help guide you through this process.