by Charlotte Wood
(last updated February 21, 2009)
It seems like in today's world you can be taxed on just about anything, including your own property. While it is unfortunate it is a part of life and the trick to surviving it is to find the loopholes around the taxing. If you know which routes are the effective ones to take then you could be in a good position to win back some of your money.
Your property taxes are largely determined by your state and local governments. There is the millage rate for taxing, which is essentially the rate which the government taxes you per thousand dollar value in property you own and there's not much you can do to influence that tax. However with the assessment tax—the tax based simply on the value of your home—can be debated by the public. You first of all need to make sure you know your basics about local tax laws. If you know what's going on in your local government, you can better make movements to change taxes and become more involved with what's going on. Knowledge is power in this world.
Once you know what's going on with your government, you can check and see if it's fair. Is your home really valued at the correct figure? Are you being taxed fairly and accurately? Check with your neighbors and see if your numbers correspond similarly to yours. Chances are, in your neighborhood, the house values are pretty much the same and so you should all be taxed roughly the same amount. Also see if you can find out how the government assesses value and see if it seems fair and accurate.
Familiarize yourself with the tax and jurisdiction schedules around and when it's time to make your move, move fast and efficiently. As soon as you've built up a stable and solid case, move as fast as possible so as to not miss anything and move your argument up to the front of the line. If the assessment error is gross, then they'll fix it right away, but if they disagree with you, you might have to file an appeal.
Remember also that if you approach your government in numbers, you'll have more an impact than if you just approached the government by yourself. If there are blatant inconsistencies with yours and others' property taxes, take it up with the government and approach them en mass. If you take these steps to reduce your assessment value, then you could succeed in lowering your property taxes and saving yourself and others money.
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