News Story

Challenging Property Taxes Could Bring Big Savings

Residential Home

Karolyn Pargo said she's seen homeowners save as much as $2,500 a year after winning an appeal of their property tax assessment.

And the assessor with 38 years of experience has seen homeowners appeal and end up having to pay more taxes.

"You better know what you are doing," said Pargo, former president of the Michigan Assessors Association.

With property values dropping, Pargo said the market is set so homeowners could save money on property taxes by appealing their assessments.

But it's no simple matter.

That's why the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance and the Wayne County Taxpayers Association are putting on workshops throughout the Detroit area in February and March.

Check here for the schedule of events.

"Somebody asked me, 'Just tell me how to assess my house,'" Pargo stated. "I said, 'Do you want to take four semesters of classes?'"

"You are going to have to do some legwork," said Pargo, who estimated it would take up to eight hours to prepare an appeal.

Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said the workshops will wind up in March because that is when appeals are usually heard by the appeal boards.

Property values are dropping to near historic levels.

Richard Steffens, a Washtenaw County property analyst, said that taxable value decreased in his county by 2.16 percent in 2009, the first time in 50 years the county saw a decrease.