Tax season means you are now getting your property tax bill. Far too many Americans pay their property tax bill without understanding it or even reading it at all. If you want to better understand your property taxes, this article will answer common questions asked when reading a tax bill.
We will explain how property taxes are calculated, when tax rates change, what an assessor’s role is, and how to determine your property value. Lastly, we will discuss your options for appealing your property taxes.
Taxes seem complicated, however property taxes are theoretically very simple. Property taxes, at their most basic, are determined by the local tax rate and the most recent assessed value of your property. Your tax bill will be determined by multiplying your assessed value by the local property tax rate. However, other factors may influence your final tax bill, such as tax breaks you’ve applied for.
If you notice a sudden change in your property tax bill, a change in your tax rate may be the first place to look. Tax rates are determined by the state and local municipalities, so they change often drastically by region.
This can cause two very similar homes to be taxed at much different rates, even just blocks apart from each other. You may wish to check your assessor’s office to find local tax rates for your municipality. Property tax rates change at different times in different places as well. Some states update their rates annual while others have more specialized dates.
When determining your property’s value, several key factors have influence. The building will be investigated for recent changes such as upgraded bathrooms or a new kitchen which can increase the value. The land will also be investigated and can influence the final value as well. One element homeowner overlook is the most simple: looking at your neighbors.
The value of neighboring homes can influence your property’s value as well, especially when comparing with similar homes.
An assessor is hired by the local government or a third party to estimate the market value of your property.
This estimated market value is what will be used to determine your property value when calculated taxes.
Often, an assessor will come to your property to inspect the building and the land when determining its value. They may also decide to determine using digital records and photographs.
An assessor is a key element in determining what your final tax bill will be.
Shocked by your property tax bill? You’re not the only one. However, many homeowners do not realized they can appeal their property tax. If you believe your home has been valued incorrectly or that you are receiving an incorrect rate, there are options available to appeal your property taxes.
This involves filing a written appeal to your county assessor and may involve several steps such as calling a third party assessor or researching local property values.
If you are interested in learning more about property tax appeals, check out our article here.
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