Tips on the DC Real Estate Property Tax Assessment and Appeal Process

The DC Real Estate tax bills and property assessments for 2016 have recently been sent out. If you own a house, condo or piece of land in DC, you’ll want to take a look at the assessment and make sure you understand the bill and that the assessment is fair and accurate.  If it is not accurate and seems higher than the market value, you’ll want to appeal it.  All appeal forms must be post marked by April 1st, so you have just under a month to get your appeal together.

We’ve put together some resources about real estate property taxes in DC as well as some common Q&A we hear from homeowners.  If you have additional questions or need help putting together an appeal to your assessment, please contact us at 202-243-7777 or

Understanding your Tax Assessment and Tax Bill:
OTR provides a fairly good overview of the property tax assessment and bill on this video.

Am I being taxed at the correct rate?
The District of Columbia has four property classes, each with a different rate.  If your property is mis-classified, you will likely be taxed at a significantly higher rate.

The four classes of property and their tax rates are listed below:

Class 1 Improved residential real property that is occupied and is used exclusively for non-transient residential dwelling purposes $0.85 per $100 of assessed value
Class 2 Commercial property (2 classes) Class 2a = $1.65 per $100 of the first $3 million of assessed value and Class 2b = $1.85 per $100 of assessed value more than $3 million
Class 3 Vacant property $5.00 per $100 of assessed value
Class 4 Blighted property $10 per $100 of assessed value*

Should I try to appeal my tax assessment?
First determine if the new increases are in line with market value and if they are in line with the assessed value of other similar homes in your area. Also make sure your property is assessed under the correct property class. You can contact the Menkiti Group for a free tax assessment analysis.  We’ll help you find the most relevant comparables and help you find what other surrounding homes are being assessed for.

How do I appeal the tax assessment?
OTR has a comprehensive guide to appeals on their site.  You can print out the appeal form, include your evidence for your appeal (comparables or appraisal) along with a letter explaining your appeal and mail it in.  Again, don’t forget to send by April 1st!

Do I need to make a payment for my tax bill?
If you have a mortgage on your property, the bank typically will pay your property tax bill on your behalf.  Check your statement to see if they have been escrowing money to pay your taxes.  If your assessment increases, the bank will likely increase your monthly payment to cover the higher tax bill.  If you do not have a mortgage on the property, or if the bank has not been escrowing for property taxes, you must either make a payment online or mail your payment by March 31st.

Does the assessed value impact my resale value?
Realtors do not take property assessments into account when pricing a home.  We run a comparable market analysis report and look at the most recent and relevant home sales to determine price.  The assessment is only used to determine what you will pay in property taxes.

Am I getting all of the deductions/ tax relief that I qualify for?
If the property is your primary residence, check the property tax database to make sure you are getting the DC Homestead deduction.  This will save you about $600/ year. The DC Homestead deduction reduces your real property’s assessed value by $70,200 prior to computing the yearly tax liability. If you receive the DC Homestead deduction, you will also qualify for the DC Assessment Cap, which currently provides that a property may not be taxed on more than a 10 percent increase in the property’s assessed value each year. This credit does not reduce the assessed value of your property on the tax roll or the assessment notice, but it will appear as an automatic credit against your real property tax bill.

If you are over 65 or disabled, you may also qualify for the Senior Citizen or Disabled Property Owner Tax Relief. This benefit reduces a qualified property owner’s property tax by 50 percent.

If you qualify, but are not receiving these deductions click the link to find both the Homestead and Senior Citizen Tax relief applications.