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Real estate taxes and truffle pigs

Visual representation of sniffing out hidden fees in a commercial real estate tax bill.

Fun fact: truffle hunters use pigs to sniff out that fungus worth its weight in gold. Without those pigs, we’d never know where to look for those tasty morsels – and never enjoy truffle fries again.

Just like truffles hidden in the dirt there are a number of fees taxing jurisdictions hide in your commercial real estate taxes. However, we understand if you’ve ever tried to review a tax worksheet to sniff them out and given up. It’s not you. It’s simply that you haven’t spent your life digging in the dirt for hidden treasu… I mean, fees. They don’t make it easy to figure out what’s making up your bill and where to dig for potential appeals. Take a look at the list below and call us when you receive your next bill – we’re the truffle pigs of finding hidden fees.

Solid Waste Fee

We sniff this one out all the time – reference the image at the top of this post. Read more about it in a previous blog post here.

Storm water Fee

These fees are usually calculated in your real estate taxes based on the amount of impervious surface (i.e., parking lot, building footprint) located on your property. Oftentimes, jurisdictions will use GIS mapping or some other satellite imagery to determine the impervious square footage. Oftentimes, they are wrong if the imagery is old or picks up a back deck or gravel driveway as a solid surface.

Ad Hoc Tax District Fees

These fees run the gambit. They represent everything from a Business Improvement District (BID) to infrastructure debt service like the insanely high Mello Roos fee in California, or the City Center District Tax in Philadelphia. Sometimes these can be appealed. If you’re a recipient (read: victim) of one of these fees, keep in mind that we reduce real estate operating costs like these for a living. We’re here to help.

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