Special Power of Attorney is a right given to every American citizen to enter into a contract to represent someone in a civil issue. It allows one to hire an agent with limited powers. As such, a Special Power of Attorney narrows the range of choices that the agent can make. In regard to Property Tax Appeals, it specifies the right for the agent to make valuation decisions to represent the homeowner or business in a property tax appeal.
In regard to Special Power of Attorney, those rights are specified in a form signed by a client giving authority to the Property Tax Consultant when it comes to representing clients for a property tax appeal. It is a contract between the Property Tax Consultant and the homeowner or business concern that wants their property tax assessment analyzed and scrutinized for a possible property tax appeal.
By allowing and giving permission to specified person or company (as an agent) it allows them to act on another’s behalf. The agent does not have to be a lawyer. It is not a license to practice law in front of a state of federal court since you’d need to pass a bar exam licensing test in order to do that.
The powers for the Special Power of Attorney are decided by the wording within the document contract. It assigns the agent a defined set of limited responsibilities in the document, in this case, for representing a homeowner or business in a property tax valuation appeal.
As A Side Note: Attorney License Requirements
The usual route for an attorney is to go to law school and pass The Bar Test. Then he or she is in. Interesting, one doesn’t need to attend law school in different states in order to practice law, just pass the test and get licensed.
All lawyers must pass a “bar exam” (200 multiple-choice questions) to become an attorney and some states also require a performance test as well. Also, certain states require additional short essays to some questions in order to pass the “bar exam.
In all United States jurisdictions except Maryland, Puerto Rico, and Wisconsin, would be attorneys must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).
Practice Law Without Law School
Some states allow for admission to practice law without attending law school. According to Wikipedia:
“In California, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming, an applicant who has not attended law school may take the bar exam after study under a judge or practicing attorney for an extended period of time. This method is known as “reading law” or “reading the law”.
New York requires that applicants who are reading the law have at least one year of law school study. Maine allows students with two years of law school to serve an apprenticeship in lieu of completing their third year.”
The Property Tax Assessment Problem
Towns have expenses they need to budget for. These expenses are met by assigning proportional amounts of assessing taxes on properties within their jurisdiction. The task of assigning valuations to properties is bid out to a mass blanket appraisal firm in a bidding war. The low-cost bid wins.
This blanket appraisal is specified by the town, sometimes every 8 years, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the town’s charter. Homeowners pay thousands in property taxes, some five, ten or twenty or more thousand dollars a year. It’s not uncommon to find businesses paying in the tens, some hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes.
It’s an impossible task for officials to keep up with the times and real estate valuation changes. Assessment data becomes old and out of date. Previous data is often simply “rolled over.”
The Property Tax Assessment Solution
Unless a property owner or business owner checks the validity of their property tax assessment yearly, he’s stuck with the towns’ assigned valuation numbers. A Property Tax Consultant can find if there is an error and pursue the case.
Since most homeowners and business owner a busy with their lives, they don’t have the time or energy to do what is necessary themselves. A Property Tax Consultant can do this for them saving them thousands of dollars. It’s a win-win for the homeowner or businessman since unless there is a successful property tax appeal, it costs them nothing other than a small filing fee, usually under fifty dollars.
Helping a community by tackling unrealistic assessment valuations is music to the ears. This service becomes cost-effective to right wrongs for those who have the insight to do so.
Note that if a bad property tax assessment is not challenged and appealed, that erroneous tax assessment sticks on the books. The homeowner or business owner losses thousands of dollars if not investigated.