Property taxes are one of the most difficult to calculate. However, you will also need to deal with them nevertheless. So, to help make the process easier, we’ve compiled some of the best tips that can help you with calculating your due property taxes.
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Know How Property Taxes are Calculated
Property taxes are usually calculated using the property’s value itself. This means that the values of the land and the buildings that are erected on it are all calculated.
Usually, tax assessors will take account of a property’s value every one to five years. Then, they charge the property’s owner the appropriate rates based on the taxing authority’s standards. The assessors can calculate values using different methods.
The Famous Mill Levy
Also known as the mileage tax, the mill levy is the most common method for property taxes to be calculated. Essentially, the mill levy is the tax rate that is levied on the value of your property.
One mill is taken to represent a tenth of a cent. So, for a property that is assessed and valued at $1 million, one mil will be $1,000
With the mill levy method, tax levies are calculated separately for each jurisdiction in an area. Then, all the levies are added to determine the total mill rate for the region. Every school district, county, and city can levy taxes on properties within their jurisdictions. Each of these entities will calculate the required mill levy, then they talk it all together to get the total mill levy.
So, say the total assessed property value in a high-end county is $10 billion. The county decides that it would need $100 million in revenues to stay afloat. Thus, the mill levy will be $100 million divided by $10 billion, giving us 1%.
Now, imagine the school district and the city calculate a mill levy of 0.8% and 5% respectively. This means that the entire mill levy will be (1% + 0.8% + 5%). That gives us 6.8%
Tricks For Lowering Your Property Tax Bill
If you have a property in a high-end neighborhood and notice that your property tax bill is getting a bit too high, there are some methods you could take to limit things. Here are some of them:
a. Get your property card
You can actually go to your town hall to get a copy of your property tax card. This card provides you with information that the town has gotten about your property over time. It includes the size of your lot, your room dimensions, the fixtures in your home, and more.
Review the card to note any discrepancies. If you find any, raise them with your tax assessor. Corrections will be made, and your property will be re-evaluated.
b. Leave the property as it is
To prevent further increases in your tax bill, don’t build any additional fixtures. A new deck, a pool, or other property upgrades will only increase your tax bill.
If you want to build, you can investigate the impact of your new structure on your tax bill. You can also get tax advice on how best to approach the upgrades.
c. Reduce any curb appeal
Tax assessors have a strict guideline set when it comes to evaluations for properties. However, there is still some level of subjectiveness to the process. If a tax assessor sees a beautiful home, there’s a high probability that they will give it a higher value.
Remember that these evaluations basically compare your house to those around it. So, try not to pimp the house before the assessor comes. Since assessors schedule meetings in advance, you should be able to plan effectively. Don’t make any structural upgrades or improvements to the home. Just leave it good enough to get you a decent valuation.
Keep a Copy Of Your Payment Information
As explained earlier, most property tax assessments are carried out one to five years apart. This frequency will depend on your community. Once you’ve got an assessment and property valuation, your authorities will mail you a property tax bill separately.
The information with the assessor is considered to be a part of the public record. However, you can access this information if you need to. You can find how much you need to pay by going to the assessor’s website and entering your address.
You can also go to the assessor’s office at the county courthouse. Once you’re there, you will be able to look up your information and even print out a copy. Note that printing will most likely cost a small fee.
It’s always recommended that you do this. You never know when you could need it.
Ways You Can Assess Your Home’s Value
So, we already understand what property taxes are and the importance of getting your home’s value. Next, let’s look into ways you can actually assess the value of your property.
Generally, there are three methods for doing this. They include:
a. A Sales Evaluation
The assessor values your property using some comparable sales that have occurred in the area. Some of the most significant criteria include the property’s state, your location, and any improvements done to it.
The assessor will also have to factor adjustments into the figures to reflect specific changes like renovations and more.
b. Cost Method
In this method, the assessor determines your property’s value based on the cost of replacing it. If the property is old, the assessor will determine the depreciation that has occurred and how much the property would be worth if no one lived there.
For newer properties, the assessor deducts realistic depreciation and examines the cost of the labor and building materials. These figures are eventually included in the property’s value.
c. Income Method
This method examines how much income you could make if you rented the property. The assessor considers maintenance costs, management costs, and other costs like taxes and insurance.
After determining the property’s value, the assessor gets the assessed value by multiplying the actual value by an assessment rate. The rate varies by jurisdiction, and it could be anything below 100%. Once the assessed value is gotten, it is multiplied by the mill levy to determine the appropriate property taxes.