As property values have declined significantly in many areas of the country, some localities have taken step to increase their tax revenues by increasing their real estate taxes. But take heart: you can take steps to potentially lower your retirement property taxes by examining the assessed value of your home.
How could your assessor be wrong? It might depend on when you property was last appraised.
Although assessments must typically be established each year, some assessors might not perform an annual appraisal of every property they assess. Instead, individual valuations are sometimes made when there is a municipal-wide reassessment, and then carried forward until another municipal-wide reassessment is performed. In some cases, many years can pass between reassessments.
So, if your property value has fallen, you could be paying more than you should.
Moreover, when assessments are conducted, errors can sometimes be made. Some of these errors may include the size of your home or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Sometimes unfinished basements are listed as finished in the assessor’s report; sometimes garages that don’t exist are factored into the property value.
You can obtain a property valuation report from your local assessor’s office upon request.
Study it for these possible errors. And, compare your home’s value to others in the neighborhood; it should be in line. Obtain proof of any errors, and then visit the assessor’s office to ask how you can dispute the report.
We always advise people to consult with their own qualified legal, tax, and financial advisor prior to making any financial decisions.
If your property value is assessed correctly, there might be other tax breaks available, depending on where you live. Although retirement property taxes are typically imposed by cities, townships, counties and school districts, some states specify a maximum tax rate as the standard for local assessors to follow.
In closing, you should also know that property tax protests must be made in a timely manner, and there are strict deadlines that must be met for making a timely protest. For information regarding these deadlines, you should contact the assessor’s office in your local community.