Owning a home is a large part of the American dream. However, for some that dream can become a nightmare. There’s a lot of go in to home ownership, up to and including paying property taxes. If there’s a way to reduce property taxes, you can bet homeowners want to know about it.
A recent article in Forbes outlines a few easy ways that homeowners can try and reduce their property taxes. Here are their suggestions.
Challenge The Assessment
As the article points out: there are two components that go into your property tax bill: your home’s assessed value and the property tax rate in your area. There’s nothing you can do about the latter, however you do have some wiggle room on the former.
A local assessor may not have all the information they need to properly assess your home’s value. In some cases, they can be flat-out wrong. You may need to hire your own assessor or agent to challenge the assessment, but it may pay off.
This approach may seem crazy at first. After all, who wants to actively try to lower the value of their home? However, if you want to pay taxes at all (and who does?), wouldn’t you rather be taxed accurately?
For example, say your home is assessed by your city as being worth $200,000. Your tax bill is going to reflect that value. If your home’s value is actually $150,000, you would prefer to be taxed at that value rather than $50,000 more.
Did you lose $50,000 of value in your home? Not really. It wasn’t there to begin with. If you were to sell your house, odds are it would be more properly assessed and the selling price would be close to $150,000 than $200,000. However, you would have spent years paying property taxes on a $200,000 property when you didn’t have to.
There are numerous ways to lower your tax burden and the state, local, and federal level. Contact your city’s assessor and see if you qualify. It never hurts to ask if you can reduce property taxes in any way.
Appeal The Assessment
If exploring discounts and challenging your assessment didn’t reduce property taxes, you have the right to appeal it. This can be a lengthy process, but the end result may be that you reduce your property taxes.
County assessors have a lot of homes to view. Often, they speed through. They miss a few things here and there. Odds are, they missed a few cracks in the ceiling or an old water heater, etc. Make sure you’re paying fair taxes on a fair, accurate assessment.
Does it actually work? Sometimes not. However, in many cases appealing your home assessment can be like challenging a traffic ticket. Which is to say that it can be a pain, but you usually wind up getting a few bucks knocked off.
Are You A Homeowner?
Whether you currently own a home or are looking to buy: paying property taxes is no fun. However, like most taxes: property taxes vary based on your location. That’s why City vs City accounts for property taxes when calculating cost of living.
Unlike other calculation tools, City vs City assesses cost of living at the zip code level. We examine key factors such as your after-tax income, housing expenses, and all major state and local taxes.
As a result, City vs City delivers an accurate portrayal of the cost of living in your city. Thinking of moving? Compare your costs with another city of your choosing. You’ll be able to see which city can offer you a better cost of living situation for your standard of living.