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Neighborhood Expert: How to appeal your real estate assessment

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or Laura@GuidingYourMove.com.

Lots and lots of discussion last week as everyone in Fairfax County received their notice of assessment for their real estate.

The average assessment went up almost 7%, which is on top of last years increase as well. I’m aware some people had an even higher increase. The saving grace for folks with this large increase is that they’re proposing to keep the tax rate the same as last year, but it won’t be adopted until May. The Town of Vienna has actually proposed reducing the Town taxes by 1 cent.

Now, remember, a tax assessment is a lagging indicator of value, which means in our area, it’s almost always lower than actual market value. If you feel as though the county got it wrong, there are two way to appeal the value, but please know they can do 3 things: keep it the same, lower it, OR raise it! So be sure you’re confident in your data before you appeal.

Option 1: Online Appeal

  • Must submit your online appeal by April 3, 2023
  • Research and submit sales and like kind properties to support your appeal
  • File is reviewed and you’re notified in writing of the decision
  • Real estate taxes are still due on time even if no decision has been made

Option 2: Board of Equalization Appeal

  • The BOE is made of 9 residents who serve 2 year terms
  • The application to appeal is due June 1st
  • Tax payers get to schedule an in person hearing to present your evidence
  • BOE can decide to keep your assessment the same, increase or decrease it
  • Taxes are still due on time even if no decision has been made yet

As a reminder, real estate taxes are due July 28 and December 5.

Another thing to note: both Fairfax County and the Town of Vienna have Tax Relief programs for disabled veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, surviving spouses of our US Armed Forces, and surviving spouses of first responders killed in action.

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