Property Tax

Property taxes are one of the single largest expenses faced by homeowners next to the mortgage itself. Many people get in trouble with their mortgage companies or wind up facing foreclosures because they are unable to pay their property taxes. Yet, most Americans do nothing to attempt to get these taxes lowered. It is estimated that up to 70% of all property tax appeals are granted, still only 7% of all homeowners make an appeal to get their property taxes lowered. In this day and age, with property values plummeting all over the country, you might have your best chance yet to file an appeal on your property taxes. So, why should you appeal your property tax assessment? Well consider an appeal on a $150,000 property. Lets say that you win and your property tax is reduced by 5%. This means the assessed value would be reduced by $7500 and the property taxes reduced by $225, based upon a 3% taxation rate. It has been established that about 60% of all assessed homes in the United States are valued too high. This might be surprising, but consider the tax authoritys need to raise money and the apathy of the homeowners, as represented by the statistics in paragraph two of this article. Most homeowners havent fought property tax values because, up until now, home value almost always increased. Now, faced with decreasing home value and over-assessed property, is the time to take action. If you think that your property is being valued too high, you can appeal to your tax authority. You will probably be granted an opportunity for a hearing, at which time you must be prepared to back up your claims with solid documentation. To do this, you can work with a real estate agent who can offer you information on comparable properties in the vicinity and you can check out what those properties are costing in taxes. You can even get your property appraised. This will cost around $300 to $500, but it may be worth it if you feel strongly that you are being over taxed. It is good to have this sort of compelling evidence because local governments are not likely to reduce property taxes unless you can make a very persuasive argument for them doing so. When it comes to fighting property taxes, the fact that so few homeowners take on the tax authority over this issue might actually work to your benefit. It would be tougher for you to get a fair hearing, if everyone in the jurisdiction decided to fight their property tax. However, without such an overwhelming demand, the tax authority might decide to lower your assessment value based upon your evidence and the fact that such action will make you go away.

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