4 Things to know about property tax

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If you are a veteran homeowner, you’ve come to expect the yearly notice that your property taxes are going up (again). But if this is your first year owning a home, this may come as a surprise, and you may not know exactly what this means. I’ll give a quick rundown of what property taxes are, why they go up, and most importantly, how to fight that increase!

What are property Taxes?

Property tax is a tax that is based on the value of your home, and include taxes for the county, city, ISD(largest portion), public utilities, public health, and public colleges. Certain exemptions may reduce or freeze certain portions of a homeowners property tax, but paying property tax is an unavoidable “perk” of owning a home.

Why Do They Keep Increasing?

Without getting political, there are a lot of organizations that rely on our tax dollars to function, and if possible, every one of them will want MORE money every year. That being said, tax assessed values typically follow the market. So for the last 7-8 years, tax assessed values have naturally been following the general market value of the homes being sold.

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Sometimes, the increase in taxes can actually create an unaffordable situation for the homeowner if they are not able to pay an extra $100-$300 per MONTH in taxes. If you buy a brand new home, you are particularly at risk because your taxes will increase SIGNIFICANTLY over the first couple years in order to catch up to the proper value.

Thankfully, if your taxes are going up, the tax assessor is required to send a notice and allow you to protest the increase.

What’s the Point of “Protesting” My Tax Increase?

The only option you to keep your taxes low is to file a “protest.” Fortunately, if you have your homestead exemption filed (see January’s blog), then there is a 10% max increase that can be assessed, but even 10% REALLY adds up over a couple years!

But How Do I File a Protest?

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Protesting the increase of your property tax is much simpler than a novice may fear. Once a notice of increase is received, it will have instructions on how to protest your increase, and most of it can be done online. If the automatic process is unsatisfactory to you, you may then file an appeal where you will appear in person to argue you case to a panel of local residents.

If you don’t have the time or energy to do this yourself, there are professionals who will protest your taxes for you for a fee, typically a portion of what they save you.

BUT WAIT, as a free service and in order to be helpful in any way possible to my friends, clients, anyone else who needs help, I will help you protest your taxes at absolutely no charge. Simply CONTACT ME when you receive your notice and we’ll go from there!