I-Team 8

Marion County woman invites neighborhood to make property-tax appeal

Homes are shown in the Fountain Square section of Indianapolis on May 11, 2012. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County assessor says an appeal process is in place for property-tax assessments, and about 50% of the appeals are granted — but property owners have to take the first step. 

Esperanza Alonzo has taken the first step and filed an appeal. She is also helping put together a neighborhood group to fight the sharp increase in property taxes.  

“We already have several people and we went to meet up office with the person that is in charge of the appeals. Our next step is to continue working with the neighborhoods to gather as many people as possible till everybody to appeal before the deadline,” Alonzo said. 

 Alonzo lives in the Fountain Square area; she says her property taxes have increased 80% over last year.  

“There is no law that prevents the assessor from assessing the properties this high or how much they can increase the assessment of your property,” Alonzo said.

According to Marion County Assessor Joe O’Connor, close to 2,800 people have filled appeals of their spring taxes, which is about 300 more appeals than this time in 2020. He says the process takes about five minutes and can be started online or in person, and needs to be completed by June 15. 

“Or call and tell us you want to file an appeal, and we will document that appeal for you and file it and get it assigned to analyst as quick as we can,” O’Connor said. 

Many of the neighborhoods impacted by the increase have a growing number of newer or remodeled homes. Connor says assessments are based, in part, on market value and the increased home value drives property taxes up for the entire neighborhood, regardless of the homes condition.  

“And that is just a baseline this is what the house was worth and in less than 5 years you are seeing double, triple sales prices,” O’Connor said. 

Alonzo says she’s pleased that home values have gone up in the area but questions why the value of an older home without extensive renovation next to a brand-new house is suddenly worth double or triple the value.    

“You don’t go from $50,000 to now the value is $200,000 just because your neighbor next door built a brand-new house that is worth half-million dollars,” Alonzo said. 

Once you have filed an appeal you still have to pay your property taxes, if the appeal is awarded in your favor, then you will be given a credit on your next property tax bill 

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