DEAR BENNY: My wife and I purchased the model house in a new development, including all the furnishings within the home. I guess I should have been more vigilant at settlement but the real estate transfer tax was based on the total sales price of the home. It was only recently that I obtained a copy of the appraisal and learned that the appraiser included nearly $80,000 for the furnishings within the home, which meant I paid almost $800 more in transfer tax than I should have. Do you think if I petition my local county tax office there's a chance of getting a refund? --Bob
DEAR BOB: It never hurts to ask; the county tax office can always say no. Unfortunately, counties throughout the country are desperate for money, and they may give you a hard time.