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Deadlines, Details, and Deals: An Intro to Property Tax Abatements in New Hampshire

A property tax abatement- also known as a property tax appeal or property tax refund- occurs when a property owner or qualified taxpayer reduces the assessed value of their property on record with their local municipality, and correspondingly reduces their property tax burden. Property tax abatements are appropriate for commercial and/or residential properties that have a higher equalized assessed value than fair market value. For example, a property assessed for $400,000, with a fair market value of about $250,000, would be a candidate for a property tax abatement.

New Hampshire property owners and qualified taxpayers looking to reduce their annual property taxes begin the property tax abatement process by filing a proper municipal abatement application with the local board of assessors by March 1 of the application year. Local assessors have until July 1 to make a decision on applications. During this “decision period”, assessors may contact applicants for additional property information and miscellaneous negotiations. If negotiations are initiated, the property owner may have the opportunity to discuss the property’s value with the local assessor, and may be able to settle on a mutually agreeable real estate assessment amount.

During the decision period, assessors may choose to: deny applications; grant applications, including partial abatements; or ignore applications. If an application is denied, no abatement is due the applicant property taxpayer. Assessors are not required to notify applicants of denied abatement applications. If an application is ignored, it is deemed rejected after a statutory period. Property tax abatement applicants may appeal decisions of local assessors to appropriate appeal venues. If the municipality approves an abatement application, the property owner receives a refund- in the form of a city-issued check- of the overpaid property taxes plus interest from the date of the over-payments to the date the refund is issued.

So when you think your New Hampshire property taxes may be too high, just remember- they might be! Applying for a property tax abatement is a great way to make sure you are only paying your fair share of property taxes. Just follow the process, and you could be looking at a refund check of hundreds- maybe even thousands- of dollars.

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