Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Who developed this online tool and why?
Attorneys Liz Nolan and Paul Alfano have been helping people win back overpaid property taxes for many years; in Paul’s case, over 30 years. Liz has seen homeowners feel bullied and intimidated by the appeal process and felt it wasn’t fair. Liz took a year off from her law practice to create this tool so everyone in NH can know what their fair taxes are and not overpay. For Liz and Paul, it is about helping as many people as possible and it is about fairness and justice.
How long does it take and what do I need to know?
Finding out if you qualify for a real estate refund, otherwise known as a property tax abatement, takes about 10 minutes. You need to know your address.
Wouldn’t it be better to have a lawyer do this for me?
We designed RETaxRefund.com because lawyers can be expensive. We are lawyers. We can’t afford to work for free and many property tax refunds are significant to homeowners but would be used up paying us. We believe that using this tool is better, faster and cheaper than hiring an attorney for a straightforward property tax abatement (refund) process. The cost to you, $99, is a great deal, but if enough people use the tool, we will recover the cost of development—which took us about two years.
Appraisers, assessors, attorneys: What’s the difference and what do they do?
In matters of property tax, we consider appraisers the top of the food chain, above assessors (who work for cities and towns assessing property values) and above attorneys. Appraisers are professionals who examine properties closely and compare similar properties to determine an accurate market value. The evidence collected by the appraiser makes the case required to win an appeal, which is why we strongly recommend people hire an appraiser.
Won’t my city get annoyed with me and maybe even try to get back at me?
No. This is America and Americans have a fundamental right to appeal when they believe they are being unfairly taxed. By developing this tool which compiles the information for you and presents it in the way the municipal professionals work, we are taking emotion out of the process and establishing a fair, level playing field. No city or town wants to do anything illegal or unfair. This tool helps everyone.
Will my financial information be exposed if I use this online tool?
No. The website is secure and the only information needed is your address.
Is it really free?
Finding out if you qualify for a real estate refund, otherwise known as a property tax abatement, is absolutely free. That is STEP 1 at RETaxRefund.com and it is truly FREE. If you decide to apply for the amount you are overpaying, that is STEP 2. There is a $99 fee for using STEP 2 and getting everything you need to submit an application to your city or town. If your refund application is not approved, we have a THIRD STEP appeal package which gives you the information and forms you need to persist in taking your appeal to the BTLA. The fee for the appeals package is $149.
The fees charged by appraisers is extra. We made our fee modest to leave "room" for you to spend most of your money on an appraiser. We have negotiated flat fees with top appraisers who are familiar with the tax abatement process. Appraisals will cost between $595 and $720. If you need to have a hearing (which is rare), the appraiser will charge another $675 to attend the hearing with you. (This fee will be somewhat higher if the appraiser needs to travel a long distance.)
What is the most this could cost me?
All the way through the appeal process our fee would be $99 (Application process) plus $149 (Appeal process). Total $248. This total is less than an hour spent with a NH property tax attorney. If you hire an appraiser (strongly recommended), the total cost should be under $1,000. The vast majority of cases get resolved without the need to attend a final hearing before the Board of Tax and Land Appeals, but if do attend a final hearing with your appraiser, the total cost, including our fee and all fees charged by the appraiser, would be about $1,500.
What happens if my city denies my request?
NH has a board called the BTLA, Board of Land & Tax Appeals. Officially described, "The Board's goals are to provide an alternative forum to the superior court in tax cases that is timely, fair, inexpensive, and accessible to the taxpayers and property owners. The Board has responsibility, parallel to the superior court to hear appeals of all local and state taxes.” If you need to file an appeal with the BTLA, the appeal package is $149 and includes everything you need to go all the way to a final hearing, excluding an appraiser, who will do most of the talking. We want people to feel comfortable going to hearing. The hearings process is for you and the clerk and members of the board are welcoming.