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Tip of the week: How to appeal a property-tax bill

Visit the assessor; Know the rules; Insult your house

Visit the assessor. Request a copy of your property card, which contains the data used to determine your house’s value—including square footage and number of rooms. Look first for simple mistakes: math errors, the “mention of a nonexistent porch.” Sometimes a polite chat will win the day.

Know the rules. The annual window for appeals is often brief. Learn what an appeals board might expect in a formal appeal. In most cases, you’ll need to compare your assessment with those of nearby homes. “This public information can be found at your local municipality or online at value​appeal.com or domania.com.”

Insult your house. You’ll want to include photos in your appeal, as well as a list of your home’s faults, such as a leaky roof. “Those problems might save you enough cash that you’ll be able to afford to fix them.”

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