How To Minimize Your Property Tax Bill Many people are aware of the numerous ways that exist to cut down the amount of income and sales tax you pay each year. However, less is known about property taxes. Based on the assessed value of your home, property taxes are typically paid to fund the local government. They can also pay for general services in the area such as schools, the police force, garbage collection or, unfortunately, a public deficit. What many people do not realize is that, like with income and sales tax, there are a number of ways to reduce the amount of property tax you pay. Here are just a few ways to consider: Make certain that the assessment on your property is accurate. Your property's assessment value is typically determined by the state or local municipality and usually reflects a value lower than the home's actual market value. Double check the assessment to ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date, since mistakes can be made. You can usually do this by comparing the assessed value of your home to those of other comparable properties in the area. Also, keep abreast of changing values; some cities are quick to adjust assessments when property values are increasing, but less punctual when values are declining. Appeal the assessment on your home. In most towns, over 20 percent of those who appeal their home assessment get a reduction. If considering an appeal, be sure to first learn how the system works in your area. Call your town assessor to find out what the protocol is in such a case. Also, pull together any documents that show the age and condition of your home. This can include taking pictures of the house, floor plans, and gathering any records of home renovations. Rezone your property. In some cases, outdated zoning could lead to higher property taxes. By keeping track of the zoning laws in your area and how they apply to your property, you could get money. However, only consider rezoning if you are a long-term owner because it is a lengthy process and difficult to undo. If considering pursuing rezoning, first know what kind of property you hold. Zoning laws differ for commercial and residential properties, as well as for undeveloped land. Make sure the zoning laws on your property are up-to-date and reflect the current development on the land. However, be certain you have the approval of your neighbors before pursuing any kind of rezoning. Any kind of strong opposition from the neighborhood could make it difficult for a request to be approved or, conversely, their support could make the process much easier.
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