Property tax is a form of tax that helps your local government fund essential programs such as schools and new roads. Many communities directly depend on this income to maintain their basic lifestyle.
Every city council determines the tax rate within their area of jurisdiction. The amount can vary significantly. However, every resident within in area is expected to pay at the same rate. The state government will determine the maximum property tax rate that the local governments can charge from their residents.
The actual amount of property tax you pay will depend on the value of your house. A government appraiser will determine the value of your home. Your tax will be certain percentage of your home value. Most local governments reassess your home value each year to determine your taxes for that particular financial period.
The recent housing market slump has led to a significant drop in the amount of property taxes collected by the government. This is forcing agencies to cut down school program funding and infrastructure projects. Some local governments are increasing the property tax rates to make up for the losses.
This can lead to additional financial burden for the home owners. If you think you are paying disproportionate amounts of property taxes, you are not alone. You do not have to be disillusioned. So, how to contest your property taxes?
Begin by understanding the cause of the problem. High property taxes can occur when the assessed value of your house is greater than the market value. You may also end up paying higher taxes if the entitled exemptions were not applied to your account.
Once you determine the cause, you can approach the local city council office to contest the property taxes. You will not require a lawyer. Most agencies have clear pre-determined procedures. They send an assessment letter to all home owners each year. They will also attach a contest form to that letter. Simply fill out the form and submit it.
You may be invited for an informal hearing with your assessor. If you can present a strong case, you can lower the values. You may also be invited for a formal hearing if you have a complicated case.
Have all the arguments and evidence ready. Make a list of similar properties in the area with lower property taxes. You can also check all the available deductions and make sure everything has been applied correctly. A strong presentation and a few hours of your time can lead to a significant difference.