Lower Your Tax Bill

Death and taxes, right? With state and local municipalities in dire fiscal straits, higher property tax bills can be expected. Any change in a home’s assessment goes though a tax assessor’s office. This requires homeowners to document and request a reduction. Just calling in to yell that your bill is too high will not cause the tax assessor’s office to make a change to a bill. Here are some tips that will help you understand and perhaps lower your tax bill.

Read your property tax record. Tax information is considered public record; it is available for you and anyone to review. In some places it called a tax card, some places it is called a tax record. It may be in hard copy where it is necessary to go to the town, county or other taxing authority to review or it may be on line. Homeowners need to know how information about their property has been gathered. The tax card provides the homeowner with information the town has gathered about the property over time. Read it and make sure that it is right. The record will include information about lot size, the precise dimensions of the rooms, and other information. It will also include physical improvements made that they are made aware of.

Mistakes are common. Any discrepancy can cause a tax assessor to make a correction to the value or conduct research into the issue.

Compare your bill to your neighbors. Review comparable homes in the area. If your neighbors’ home a is a 3 bed- 3 bath home on a half acre but is assessed less than your property, these statistics and general statistics about the town’s evaluation results will give you grounds to request a reduction.

Once you have substantiation for a lower tax bill, contact the local tax assessor’s office. There may be a documented process that needs to be followed in order to request a reduction or review of your house assessment. The assessor is normally not obligated to review anything without documentation. Be sure to include a concise argument within the request including copies of any documentation needed.

If there are no discrepancies on your bill and all similar properties in your area are assessed the same then it becomes important to keep your tax bill from increasing. This can be done by:

Keeping improvements to a minimum. There are a lot home improvement projects that will not increase your tax bill while still adding value to your home. In most cases any structural change – a deck, a pool, a large shed, a new bathroom any other permanent fixture that is added to your home will result I higher taxes.

Keeping curb appeal to a minimum. When it comes to the valuation evaluation process, tax assessors are given a strict set of guidelines to go by but will contain some amount of subjectivity. I house with good curb appeal often receive a higher assessed value than those that are less appealing from the road.

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