Author name: Valerie Jennings

Understanding Business Personal Property Tax Protests

Understanding Business Personal Property Tax Protests: When and How to Challenge Your Assessment

Business Personal Property Tax Protests

Understanding Business Personal Property Tax Protests: When and How to Challenge Your Assessment

A business personal property tax protest (BPPTP) is a formal process by which business owners challenge the assessed value of their business personal property for tax purposes. Local government entities determine the value of properties within their jurisdiction and calculate taxes accordingly. However, there may be instances where business personal property owners believe that the assessed value is inaccurate or unfairly high, leading them to file an appeal. If you have questions about what a BPPTP entails, when it is appropriate to file, the steps for filing a protest and how you can navigate this process to reduce your property tax burden, we have the answers you need.

What is a business personal property tax protest?

BPPTP is a formal procedure through which business owners can dispute the assessed value of their tangible assets for taxation purposes. Business personal property refers to the movable assets used in conducting business, such as furniture, equipment, machinery and inventory. Challenging the assessed value of these assets is crucial to ensure a fair and accurate tax assessment.

Suppose you own a small manufacturing business, and your local tax assessor determines that the value of your machinery and equipment for tax purposes equals $200,000. However, after conducting research and consulting with industry experts, you believe that the fair market value of your assets is closer to $150,000. The $50,000 difference in valuations can make a difference in what you owe in business personal property taxes. In this case, filing a BPPTP can help you seek a reassessment that accurately reflects the value of your tangible assets.

While many states assess business personal property tax, New York and Ohio are some of the exceptions, so a protest would not occur in these states. You can check this list from Legal Zoom for the complete list of states that exempt businesses from this tax.

By presenting evidence such as recent appraisals, sales data for comparable machinery and equipment with any relevant documentation highlighting the condition or depreciation of your assets, you can build a strong case to support your protest. The goal is to demonstrate that the assessed value is inaccurately high and does not align with the fair market value of your business personal property.

For real-life inspiration, watch this video to learn how a hospital in Texas saved $34K in business personal property tax dollars after filing an appeal.

When should you consider a property tax protest?

Determining whether a BPPTP is appropriate for your situation requires careful evaluation, and several scenarios indicate when it might be time to consider filing a protest:


If you believe that the assessor has overvalued your business personal property, resulting in an inflated assessment and higher taxes than warranted, a BPPTP may be necessary. Like in the example above, if the assessor values your machinery and equipment at $200,000, but recent sales data or industry standards suggest a value closer to $150,000, you can file a protest to seek a more accurate assessment.

Market Value Changes

Business personal property, such as equipment and machinery, can experience depreciation over time due to technological advancements, wear and tear or changes in market demand. If your assessment does not consider these factors and reflects an outdated or inflated value, a protest can help adjust it accordingly.

Suppose advancements in technology have rendered your equipment less valuable compared to newer models. In that case, you can present evidence of market conditions, expert opinions or depreciation schedules to support your protest. Demonstrating the depreciation of your business personal property can be a compelling argument for a reassessment that accurately reflects its current market value.

Read this case study to learn how a leasing company saved $220K in property tax dollars.

Incorrect Property Information

Errors in the assessor’s records, such as inaccurate descriptions or missing assets, can lead to an incorrect assessment of your business’s personal property. A BPPTP can rectify such errors and ensure a fair evaluation. For example, if the assessor mistakenly includes assets you no longer possess, this can lead to an artificially higher value. In that case, you can provide documentation and accurate asset listings to support your protest.

property tax protest - Property Valuation Services

What are the steps in filing a business personal property tax protest?

While some states like Texas publish a business protest guide for small businesses detailing the steps needed to file an appeal, procedures may vary in other states. By following the specific guidelines of your local government, you can ensure that you’re challenging your assessment correctly and effectively.

In general, filing a protest involves several crucial steps to challenge your assessment effectively. By following these steps carefully and correctly, you can increase your chances of success:

1. Review Assessment Notice

Carefully review the assessment notice sent by the tax assessor’s office, paying attention to the assessed value, the deadline for filing a protest and any other relevant information.

2. Gather Supporting Evidence

When preparing for a business personal property tax protest, it’s crucial to gather specific supporting evidence for both tangible and intangible assets. Here are examples  of the types of evidence you should consider collecting:

Tangible Assets

Tangible assets are physical property that can be seen and touched. They include items such as machinery, equipment, furniture and vehicles.

  • Recent Appraisals: Hire a licensed professional to conduct an independent appraisal of your tangible assets. The appraiser will assess factors like their condition, age and market value. Seek the expertise of professionals who have successfully handled cases and can provide their opinions or written statements regarding the accuracy of your property assessment. They can analyze the specifics of your property, review the assessment and provide their expert opinion on whether it is accurate or unjustifiably high. Their opinions can carry weight during the protest process, so it’s critical to choose those with a proven track record.
  • Comparable Sales Data: Research recent sales of similar tangible assets in your industry or region. For example, if you own a restaurant and are protesting the assessed value of your commercial kitchen equipment, find comparable sales of similar equipment in your area. This evidence will demonstrate if your assets have been assessed higher than comparable assets, strengthening your case during the protest.
  • Photographs: Take clear and detailed photographs of your tangible assets to support your protest. For instance, if you have machinery that is outdated or in need of repairs, capture those aspects in photographs. These visual representations can reinforce your argument and provide tangible evidence during the protest process.

Intangible Assets

Intangible Assets

Intangible assets are non-physical assets that hold value but do not have a physical form. They include items such as intellectual property, software, brand recognition and customer lists.

  • Expert Opinions: Seek the expertise of professionals who specialize in evaluating intangible assets. For example, if you have intellectual property, consult an intellectual property attorney or an experienced appraiser in that field. Their opinions can carry significant weight during the protest process.
  • Financial Documentation: Gather relevant financial documents that demonstrate the value of your intangible assets. For instance, if you are protesting the assessed value of your brand or customer list, provide financial statements that highlight the income generated by these assets or any licensing or royalty agreements that showcase their value.
  • Market Research: Conduct market research to gather data on similar intangible assets in your industry. For example, if you own a software company and are disputing the assessed value of your software code, collect information on comparable software products, their sales and any relevant market trends. This market research can provide valuable evidence to support your case during the protest.

Remember to consult the specific guidelines provided by your local tax authority, as evidence requirements may vary depending on your jurisdiction. Gathering the appropriate evidence and following the correct procedures will help you build a strong case for your business personal property tax protest.

3. Complete Protest Forms

Obtain the necessary protest forms from your local tax assessor’s office or website. Complete the forms accurately, providing all required information and supporting documentation.

4. Submit Protest

Submit your completed protest forms and supporting documentation within the specified deadline. Adhere to the submission guidelines provided by your local tax assessor’s office to ensure your protest is appropriately filed.

5. Attend a Hearing (if applicable)

A formal hearing may be scheduled to review your business personal property tax protest. If you receive a hearing notice, prepare your arguments, organize your evidence and articulate why you believe your tax should be adjusted.

How can Property Valuation Services help with your property tax protest?

At Property Valuation Services, we understand the complexities involved in the business personal property tax protest process, and we’re here to assist you every step of the way. Our expertise in property valuation can strengthen your case and increase the likelihood of a successful business personal property tax protest. Here’s how we can help you:

  1. Independent Property Valuation

Our team of experts will conduct an independent evaluation of your business’s personal property value. Using our in-depth knowledge of local markets and industry-standard valuation techniques, we’ll provide you with an unbiased assessment that serves as evidence to support your claim.

  1. Detailed Property Reports

We will provide comprehensive reports that delve into the factors influencing your property’s value. Our detailed analysis includes information on comparable sales, market trends, property conditions and other relevant factors. These reports will significantly strengthen your case during the property tax protest, providing a clear and thorough understanding of your property’s actual value.

  1. Expert Testimony

If needed, our team can provide expert testimony during the protest hearings. Drawing on our extensive experience and expertise in property valuation, we will confidently present your arguments, explain complex valuation concepts and highlight discrepancies in the assessment. Our expert testimony will provide an independent and authoritative perspective that supports your claim for a lower assessed value.

  1. Guidance and Representation

We understand the legal complexities and will ensure you are well informed. Our team at PVS can handle all aspects of the appeal process, from gathering necessary evidence and preparing documentation to navigating any challenges that may arise. With our strong representation, you can be confident that we’ll advocate in your best interest.

  1. Market Knowledge and Insights

Our team stays up-to-date with local market trends and changes in regulations. We have a deep understanding of how these factors can impact property values and can provide you with valuable advice and strategies to pursue during the property tax protest process.

Contact Property Valuation Services (PVS) for a fair and accurate assessment of your business personal property’s value. Our expertise will strengthen the case and alleviate the burden of excessive property taxes. With our guidance, together we can navigate the tax protest process confidently for a successful outcome.

Understanding Business Personal Property Tax Protests

The local assessor’s office reviews the returns filed and calculates a taxable value for the equipment, most often by depreciating the cost of the taxable equipment reported on either their own local depreciation schedules or the state depreciation schedules.

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What Is Property Tax Valuation?

What Is Property Value Taxation?


Property tax valuation refers to professional services that assess and determine the accurate value of business personal property and commercial real estate. These services are essential for businesses and investors seeking to understand the true worth of their assets. By providing expert insights and comprehensive analysis, property valuation services enable clients to make informed decisions, optimize profits and effectively manage potential risks associated with their properties.

Put worrying aside if you’re not familiar with all the ins and outs of property valuation just yet. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll demystify the definition and importance of property valuation for commercial real estate. We’ll simplify the jargon with our glossary of terms, explain the step-by-step valuation process and highlight its remarkable benefits.

Understanding Property Tax Valuation

Glossary of Terms

To better understand property valuation, let’s explore some commonly used terms:

Market Value

Market value is the estimated worth of a property in the current market. It’s determined by location, property size, condition, amenities, income potential, and recent comparable sales.


An appraisal is an expert’s assessment of a property’s value based on various factors such as location, size, condition and recent comparable sales. Appraisals are conducted by licensed professionals and are often required by taxing authorities and the judicial system when appealing a property tax assessment.

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

Comparative Market Analysis is a method that compares a property’s value with similar properties in the market to determine its worth. It involves analyzing recent sales data, market trends and property characteristics to assess a property’s value.

Assessed Value

The assessed value is the assigned value to a property for tax purposes by a local government entity. Assessed values are used to determine property taxes and may not always reflect the market value of a property.

Fair Market Value (FMV)

Fair market value is the price at which a property would sell between a willing buyer and seller in an open and fair market. FMV is influenced by factors such as supply and demand, property conditions, location and current market conditions.


Depreciation is a decrease in a property’s value over time due to factors such as wear and tear, age or outdated features. It’s an important consideration for property owners, as it can affect their overall value.

A property built 20 years ago may have experienced some depreciation due to aging infrastructure, which could lower its value compared to a newer property.

Capitalization Rate

The capitalization rate is used to estimate the property’s potential income and value based on its expected return. It is commonly used in commercial property valuation to assess investment opportunities.

For example, a commercial property with an expected annual net income of $50,000 and a capitalization rate of 7% would have an estimated value of approximately $714,285 ($50,000 divided by 0.07).

Highest and Best Use

The highest and best use means determining the most profitable use of a property based on market conditions and local zoning regulations. It involves evaluating alternative uses to determine the most financially advantageous option.

A vacant lot located in a commercial zone might have higher value and potential if developed into a retail shopping center rather than a residential property.


Zoning is the set of local regulations that dictate the approved uses and development guidelines for commercial properties within a designated area. It determines whether a property can be used for residential, commercial, industrial or other purposes.

Property Tax Valuation Services

The Property Tax Valuation Process

Initial Assessment and Data Collection

Property valuation is a meticulous process that begins with an initial assessment. Professional valuers conduct a comprehensive analysis to gather relevant information and understand the property’s characteristics, location and prevailing market conditions.

During this phase, they assess the size and condition of the property, taking into account the number of rooms, amenities and overall appeal. Additionally, they analyze the property’s location, including its proximity to schools, amenities, transportation and the desirability of the neighborhood, all of which impact its commercial value.

Valuation Methods

Property valuers employ various methods to determine the value of a property. The most commonly used approaches include:

Sales Comparison Approach

The sales comparison approach involves comparing the property being valued with recently sold similar properties in the same area.  It is particularly useful for residential properties with a significant number of comparable sales available. However, finding genuinely comparable properties can be challenging for unique or specialized properties and may not account for unique features or improvements.

Income Capitalization Approach

Primarily used for investment properties, the income capitalization approach assesses the property’s income potential by analyzing the rental income and operating expenses associated with the property. This method focuses on the property’s income potential, which is critical for investors evaluating returns on their investment. However, accurate and reliable rental income data is necessary for an accurate valuation, and it may not be suitable for properties that do not generate rental income or where accurate income data is unavailable.

Cost Approach

The cost approach evaluates the property’s value by considering the cost to rebuild or replace it. It is useful for unique or specialized properties where comparable sales or rental income data may be limited or not applicable. This approach provides an estimate of the property’s value based on the cost of reproducing or replacing it, considering current construction costs and depreciation.

Property Tax Valuation - PVS

Factors Considered in Property Tax Valuation

Several factors are taken into consideration when valuing a property:


The property’s location is a key determinant of its value. Proximity to amenities, schools, transportation and the neighborhood’s desirability significantly influence its market value.

Size and Condition

The property’s physical attributes, including square footage, layout, number of rooms and overall condition, play a crucial role in determining its value. Well-maintained properties generally have higher values.

Comparable Sales

Recent sales prices of similar properties in the area are taken into account. The valuer compares the property being assessed with these sales to determine its market value.

Rental Income Potential

For investment properties, the potential rental income and cash flow are significant factors. The valuer considers the property’s rental income potential when assessing its value.

Market Trends

The overall direction of the real estate market, including supply and demand dynamics, influences property valuations. Market trends can impact property values positively or negatively.

Benefits of Property Valuation Services

Property valuation services offer numerous advantages when it comes to commercial real estate tax assessment. These services are specifically tailored to the unique requirements of commercial properties, ensuring fair and accurate taxation for property owners. Here are the key benefits:

Objective and Unbiased Assessment

Property valuation services provide an impartial evaluation of the commercial property’s value. Their expertise ensures that the property’s worth is determined objectively, leading to fair tax assessments that align with the property’s actual market value.

Compliance with Tax Regulations

Tax laws and regulations related to commercial real estate can be complex and constantly changing. Property valuation services experts are well-versed in these regulations, ensuring that the property’s valuation adheres to all relevant tax guidelines. This minimizes the risk of non-compliance and potential penalties.

Support for Tax Appeals

In the event of a tax appeal, a professionally conducted property valuation report serves as valuable evidence to support the property owner’s case. The report provides a solid foundation to present compelling arguments during the appeal process.

Identifying Tax Savings Opportunities

Property valuation services professionals can identify potential tax savings opportunities specific to commercial real estate. They are knowledgeable about eligible deductions and exemptions that can lower the property’s taxable value, resulting in reduced tax liabilities for the owner.

Strategic Financial Planning

Accurate property valuations enable property owners to make informed financial decisions. Understanding the true value of the commercial property allows for better tax planning and optimization of tax-related expenses.

Mitigating Overpayment

An accurate property valuation prevents overpayment of property taxes, helping property owners avoid unnecessary financial burdens. By paying the correct amount of tax, commercial real estate owners can maintain financial stability and operational efficiency.

Minimizing Assessment Errors

Professionals with expertise in evaluating commercial real estate minimize the risk of assessment errors, providing a reliable valuation that reflects the property’s true market value.

With property valuation services, commercial real estate owners can ensure that their properties are assessed fairly and in compliance with tax regulations. The benefits extend to strategic financial planning, reduced tax burden and increased confidence in navigating the complexities of commercial real estate taxation.

Factors to Consider in Choosing a Property Tax Service Provider

When selecting a property tax service provider, consider the following factors:

Experience and Expertise

Look for service providers with extensive experience in property valuation and a strong track record.

Reputation and Certifications

Check for certifications and accreditations that demonstrate the service provider’s expertise. Seek recommendations from trusted sources to gauge their reputation.

Client Testimonials and References

Read reviews and seek references from previous clients to gain insights into the quality of service and customer satisfaction.

Service Offerings and Specialization

Ensure the service provider offers the specific property tax services you require, whether for commercial or investment properties.

Turnaround Time and Cost

Evaluate the turnaround time for meeting deadlines and compare the pricing structures offered by different providers.

Property Valuation Services

Property Valuation Services (PVS) specializes in assisting commercial real estate owners achieve their property tax-related goals. We focus on providing comprehensive property tax services conducted by experienced professionals who consider all relevant factors specific to commercial properties.

Our meticulous analysis considers characteristics, location, market conditions and income potential to determine an accurate and fair property tax assessment. We have a comprehensive understanding of your property’s value, ensuring compliance with tax regulations and optimizing your tax liabilities.

With a deep knowledge of the market, we offer valuable insights and customized solutions to address your property tax needs effectively. Our property tax reports adhere to industry standards and guidelines, enhancing your credibility with taxing authorities and regulatory bodies.

PVS values long-term partnerships and prioritizes professionalism, ensuring your privacy and data security. You can trust us to uphold confidentiality and integrity throughout the property tax assessment process.

Contact us to gain access to a dedicated team focused on optimizing the value of your commercial properties for property tax purposes. We offer expert property tax advice and strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for your property tax liabilities.

The local assessor’s office reviews the returns filed and calculates a taxable value for the equipment, most often by depreciating the cost of the taxable equipment reported on either their own local depreciation schedules or the state depreciation schedules.

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