One of the drawbacks of owning a piece of property is the money that you have to pay the local government for property taxes in order to maintain possession of it. While most real estate owners would agree that paying property taxes is a small price to pay for the benefits of ownership, some people pay too much for these taxes. If you feel like you are currently paying too much for your property taxes, there are steps that you can take to limit the amount that you have to pay.
The Way Property Taxes Are Calculated
When you do your property tax bill, you may be turned off by the high price that you have to pay. How exactly do they determine how much you are going to have to pay in any given year? There are a couple steps involved in the process.
First off, the county appraiser looks at your property and try to determine an approximate value of it. The value is then multiplied by a millage rate that is set by the local government. The millage rate can vary from one year to the next, based on budget needs and other factors. This is why property taxes can fluctuate from one year to another.
What Happens if the Appraiser Gets it Wrong?
So what happens if your property tax appraisal is wrong? There’s nothing that says your appraisal is going to be 100% correct. After all, the appraiser is only human. The fact that he works for the local government doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s perfect and can’t make a mistake. If there is a mistake on an appraisal, one of two things could happen. You will either not notice it and pay too much for taxes, or you can appeal the decision and possibly get your property taxes lowered.
Appealing the Decision
In order for you to get your property taxes lowered, you’ll have to appeal the appraisal. To be able to do this, you need some kind of grounds for an appeal. For example, you may feel that the appraisal added features that don’t have anything to do with your home. You might think that the value is out of line with all of the other houses in your neighborhood.
Every jurisdiction has their own process for appealing a property tax appraisal. Most of the time, you will have to complete some forms and submit them to the county. At that point, they may simply review the forms and issue a ruling. If they admit their mistake, they will change your property tax bill and reissue it. In some jurisdictions, you will have to bring your evidence to a hearing and state your case. A local judge or commissioner may be the one to hear your case. Whatever that individual decides will determine how much your property taxes should be.
Handling Property Taxes
If you cannot get your property taxes lowered, you may be faced with an unnecessarily large financial burden. When this happens, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give up your property. One option is to borrow money with a property tax loan. By using a property tax loan, you can get the money you need to pay off your property taxes and then pay back the loan in time.
Regardless of what your tax situation looks like, it is in your best interest to look at the bill and determine if you’re paying too much. You don’t ever need to pay more than what you should pay for property taxes. Even if you don’t file an appeal, it’s worth taking a look at every year.
Image Credit: shutterstock.com
Category: Money Basics