March 3rd, 2016 10:15 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
Many homeowners will attest to
how expensive owning a home can be. Planned or unplanned, there always seems to
be an expense. One of the most frustrating costs is the annual property tax bill.
We know it comes every year, but may not realize we could be paying less. That
is because many homeowners don’t understand how property taxes are calculated.
They only know their tax funds the local government and that it’s based on the
value of their home. What many don’t realize is that there are reasonable ways
to lower your property taxes. Here are four of those overlooked ways.
Believe it or not, appealing your
tax property bill is one of the best ways to lower your taxes. If you believe
your home is overvalued when you receive your bill, don’t wait to appeal. “You
have between 30 and 90 days to appeal your tax bill. Contact your local
assessor's office and ask what the appeals process is. It is better to begin this
step immediately upon receiving your tax bill,” says Arvin Sahakian, Vice
President of BeSmartee. Various factors can be used to justify an appeal, such
as: (For more, see: How Property Taxes Are Calculated.)
If your assessment has some
inaccuracies it will pay to quickly seek out an appeal.
There are various instances where
you may be able to have the value of your home reduced in the eyes of the local
government. These deductions protect certain individuals from having to pay the
full-expected tax bill. “It's important to check for any special tax deductions
in your area and for your specific circumstances. For example, seniors,
veterans, people living with disabilities, farmers and low-income households
qualify for property tax exemptions, deductions or credits in many states,” says AJ
Smith, vice president of Content for SmartAsset. (For more, see: 5 Tricks for Lowering Your Property
The key to remember here is
deductions vary by state. Contact your local government to find out if you
qualify for such a deduction.
Many homeowners, especially
first-time ones, don’t realize their property tax bill is directly related to
the value of their home. As you add on to your house, the value will arguably
increase. The property tax responsibility will likewise increase. Such
additions can include:
Any new construction that will
add something permanent to your home will increase the amount of property taxes
you owe. (For more, see: What You Should Know About Real
Researching a handful of homes in
your neighborhood or subdivision is one of the best ways to reduce your
property tax liability. You want to find homes of
comparable size and value to help give a fuller picture of what you should pay.
Make sure to do full research when looking at other properties. You want to
provide specific properties to find discrepancies. Those discrepancies will
help build a case for lowering your property tax bill. There are even online
tools to build such a case. According to Sahakian, “Use online sources to
estimate property values based on sales, such as Realtor.com. Filter results by
bedroom, bathroom and square footage. If values have gone down and your
property is overvalued, you can request a review by the assessor.”
Paying a property tax bill is
never fun. While it’s part of the cost of owning a home, in certain
circumstances it’s quite possible to lower your payment and save some money.
(For more, see: A Tax Primer for Homeowners.)
By John P. Schmoll – To view the
original article click here