Can I Get My Overpaid Property Taxes Back?

Answer

Real property, which may include both land and structures, is often subject to property taxes, which are collected by towns and counties the majority of the time. Property taxes are often paid “in arrears,” which simply means that they are paid for a period of time that has already passed. There are instances when homeowners overpay the property taxes that are owed on their homes, and this often happens after the homeowners have refinanced their homes and paid back taxes that were apparently overdue. Thankfully, almost every county and municipality has a procedure in place that enables property owners to get a refund of any property taxes that they have overpaid.

Property Tax Refunds

A examination of the websites of county treasurers finds that the majority of them have databases that enable property owners who believe they may have payed taxes to assess whether or not this is truly the case. If a search on the website for your county or municipality’s property tax finds that you have overpaid taxes, the first step is likely to be filling out a form to request a property tax refund. You do in San Francisco, for example. Along with the form for requesting a refund on your property taxes, you will also need to provide supporting proof. Only claims for property tax refunds that include repeated payments or overpayments are typically accepted for processing.

Tax Overpayment Issues

The amount of time that excess payments made toward property taxes are kept before being returned to taxpayers is governed by law in many jurisdictions’ counties and municipalities. For instance, Travis County in Texas stores property tax payments for a period of three years, after which the county is entitled to any unclaimed overpayments of taxes. Unfortunately, some counties and municipalities are better at alerting property owners of property tax overpayments than others are. This is true both for counties and municipalities. Additionally, the courts have always maintained and continue to hold that the burden of evidence is with the property owner when it comes to showing eligibility to any property tax refunds.

Avoiding Overpayment

In addition to paying redundant property tax payments when they refinance their property, owners often overpay property taxes because their properties are assessed at a higher value than they really are. An estimated fifty percent to sixty percent of properties in the United States have been assessed incorrectly, which means that many property owners are paying more in taxes than they should have to. Always do a thorough inspection of your property assessment, and if you believe that your home or business is being overvalued, you should be prepared to file an appeal. The majority of county and local taxation authorities, as well as state and federal agencies, provide online guidance and guidelines on how to submit assessment appeals in the correct manner.

Considerations

A property tax overpayment almost never results in an automatic refund from the county or municipality. Even while the majority of forms may at least be downloaded and printed out, the majority of counties and municipalities demand that any property tax refund applications be submitted or handed in in person. The paperwork required for a property tax overpayment includes copies of cancelled payment checks or an IRS Form 1098, depending on whether or not your mortgage company paid your property taxes. To reduce the likelihood of having your application for a property tax refund rejected, be sure to thoroughly follow all of the application’s instructions.