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What You Should Know About Property Taxes

August 11, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 108

Every county in the United States maintains a tax assessor's office. The tax assessor is responsible for appraising the value of all real estate located within the county. The assessor is also responsible for keeping accurate records of ownership and location. The tax assessor makes an appraisal of a particular property, enters the assessment into the records and raises or lowers the property tax by how much the price has risen or declined. The Treasurer's office will collect the taxes, but the tax assessor is responsible for setting the rate.

Property taxes can rise or fall based on two different variables: the rate and the amount owed. Rising tax rates but falling property values may result in a lesser or greater amount owed. Conversely, rising property values and falling tax rates can have an equally uncertain outcome with regard to how much the homeowner has to pay. The worst situation is a rising property value and rising tax rates. Overall, these taxes are one of the most burdensome aspects of homeownership. Homeowners must be aware of the things they can do to raise or lower their taxes on their property.

A surefire way to raise the property tax amount owed is to make an addition or improvement to the home. Cleaning up the yard, improving curb appeal, repainting the exterior, any of these actions can result in a higher property value and thus a higher tax liability. The easiest way to avoid this is simply do not build. Alternatively, if a structural or cosmetic improvement must be made, the homeowner can check with the tax assessor's office beforehand.

An extremely simple way to lower property tax assessments is to go to the assessor's office and request a copy of the property tax record. Mistakes are more common than thought. If the homeowner finds a mistake on their record, the assessor is required by law to correct it. Sometimes an entire re-evaluation may be in order, as mistakes on the assessor's part can cost homeowners a lot in taxes.

Assessed values depend largely on the exterior attractiveness of the home. Curb appeal thus plays a major role in tax assessment. The tax assessor has a lot of leeway when taking improvements to external features into account. Again, the best way to avoid this is do not carry out improvements until after the assessment has been made. Or, simply do not carry them out at all and sit tight.

Let the assessor in when he wants to appraise the interior of the home. Denying him entrance may give him carte blanche to assign the highest value possible to the property. Unfortunately, this unconditional authority is law in most cities in the United States.

Megan Perry is a writer who looks forward to sharing her knowledge and advice with readers. For more on property tax, Accumulating Money gives readers information on reducing property taxes.

Source: EzineArticles
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