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Inflated property assessments can affect anyone — even Walmart

| Jan 6, 2020 | Commercial Property Tax Appeals

If you’re unhappy with your property tax assessment, you’re in the same boat as Walmart.

The mega retailer is appealing the tax assessment for two stores in Franklin County (the ones located in Sullivan and Washington), arguing the assessor dramatically overestimated the worth of both properties. According to emissourian.com, the county valued the properties at $24.8 million total. Walmart, however, argues the actual value is about $14 million.

What’s at stake for the company? Potentially $215,000 less in taxes if Walmart wins its appeal.

Franklin County will do another, more in-depth appraisal, while Walmart plans to hire an outside firm to conduct its own assessment. Once those are complete a State Tax Commission Hearing Officer will consider both conclusions in order to make a decision.

How sky-high assessments happen

When operating a commercial property such as a retail store, every dollar counts. This is particularly true in the current age, with online companies putting the squeeze on any competitor with a physical location. While Walmart is certainly feeling the pressure, it’s nothing compared to the effect on local business owners.

For community entrepreneurs, even saving a few thousand dollars on something like a property tax bill can make a huge difference.

County appraisers likely aren’t intentionally trying to make life harder for you. Rather, these out-of-whack tax assessments are often the result of poor information. Common potential issues on a tax assessment include:

  • An incorrect property description, such as more square footage than actually exists
  • Missing easements
  • A property value far higher than anything else in the area
  • Overlooking damage or disrepair that affects the value
  • Missed exemptions
  • A flawed estimate of the market value
  • A reliance on outdated property records

Fortunately, appealing a retail property tax assessment is possible. With the right support and advocacy, maybe you’ll once again find yourself having something in common with Walmart: a lower property tax bill thanks to a successful appeal.