Welcome to part two of my discussion about omitted property taxes.
Since my first video about this topic, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about it and I’ve been able to gather more useful information for you. I even had a specialist who fights property taxes for a living come into my office to conduct a seminar about it.
If you didn’t watch my last video, I’ll take a moment to explain what omitted taxes are.
In the Portland metro area, there’s a cap on how much your property taxes can be increased each month (anywhere from 2% to 4% on average). There are circumstances that can change that, but one of the things the county is doing with omitted property taxes is checking if you’ve made significant improvements to your house or land and whether that means you can pay significantly more in property taxes. I don’t mean a couple hundred dollars more, either—I mean thousands.
As I mentioned in my last video, I had a couple clients and one colleague who saw their property taxes double recently. We’ve since heard from many other clients and people in our industry about the same thing happening to them. This can significantly hinder your ability to afford your house and/or sell it at a higher price point.
So what else do you need to know about omitted property taxes? What can you do to keep from paying more in property taxes?
Well, in an ironic twist of events, I received a letter from the county requesting certain information about my house on the same day the specialist I mentioned above came to my office to conduct his seminar. In the letter, they asked what kind of home improvements I’ve done, what I think my property is worth, etc.
The specialist told me that these request forms are only optional and that I shouldn’t fill mine out. The county only uses them to try and garner more information about your house. In fact, if you fill it out, it can be considered an affidavit and can be used against you to increase your property taxes.
During this seminar, the question was also raised as to whether or not you have to let a tax assessor in your house if they knock on your door. According to the specialist, you do not have to let a county representative into your home to see what improvements you’ve done. They are allowed to look through your windows, though. Many of these assessors can show up at properties to get a better understanding of what you have, so you can’t shoo them away, but you can choose to not let them enter your home.
I find it interesting that this kind of thing is occurring at a high level. Last year, each county made over $2 million in omitted property taxes, and they’ve hired more staff to look into certain permits and pull data from our MLS and popular real estate websites like Zillow to figure out ways to increase property taxes.
So, again, if you or anyone you know out there has had any issues with omitted property taxes, we would like to help. Just give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be there to help out. We look forward to hearing from you soon.