Good property tax management skills are good skills to manage your money better. Property taxes are levied against homeowners and property owners to help cover the costs of essential services provided by the municipality that leverages the taxes. Here are five things you need to know about property taxes.
1. Pay Them When They Are Due
One of the worst things you can do with a property tax bill is to put it off. Every day that you are late in paying your taxes is a day you lose money. Interest on the tax bill begins to accrue after the due date. It is essential that you pay your property taxes on time. Even if you plan on disputing the fees, pay them.
The additional costs of penalties and late fees can be astronomical. Pay your bills on time to avoid additional costs and reduce the risk that the tax collector will list your property for unpaid taxes. Many people choose to let their mortgage company deal with the tax bill by rolling the cost into their monthly mortgage payment.
2. Learn How Your Property is Assessed
Many people have no idea how their county is assessing property value. Did you know, according to the North American Forest Foundation, homes with yards that have trees are valued up to 15% more than homes that don’t? How did they come to the valuation of your property?
You should know how the valuation is done to understand your tax bill better. If there are any discrepancies between what the tax office has to say about the value of your property and what you believe, you can argue the point. You should argue the point if you don’t believe you owe what the tax office says you owe.
3. Understand How to Appeal the Tax Assessment
Paying attention to your tax bill is essential. You can fight back if you receive a bill that seems higher or doesn’t sit right with you. There is a process where you can appeal the tax assessment on your property, but it is a process. Even if you don’t plan on fighting back now, you should still look into how you will fight a tax bill if you decide that you need to in the future.
Tax bills can have errors. When there is an error on your tax bill, the county is stealing money from you. According to the Department of Justice, if an average person were to steal property worth $1,000 to $1,500, that would be a class B felony; over $1,500 is a class A felony. Of course, you can’t charge someone working in the tax assessor’s office with a crime if your bill has an error, but you should fight back.
4. Discover Discounts, Rebates, and Other Savings
If you are not taking the time to learn about potential tax savings in the form of property tax discounts and rebates, you are leaving money on the table. A lot of counties offer a wide range of discounts on property taxes. For example, many counties offer discounts on property taxes for disabled veterans. Some counties will offer rebates for energy efficiency improvements.
Exploring all the possible ways to save on your tax bill can result in significant savings. You can save money on your tax bill, but you must be aware of the programs that are designed to save you money. Taking advantage of every property tax break should be everyone’s mission.
5. Plan Ahead
There is one thing that is true about property taxes; they increase over time. It is essential that you prepare for future increases. Many property owners that don’t live on their property use a property manager to oversee their property and keep up with property tax updates. TrueList says about 44% of property owners use a property manager.
Property taxes are a part of life. The more you know about property taxes, the better off you will be. Learn what you need to know about your property taxes and how to save money.