How to Reduce Property Taxes

If you are a home owner there is a high likelihood that you are paying more in property taxes than you ought to be paying. Therefore it makes sense that you might want to learn how to reduce such taxes, specifically your own.

The amount of property taxes that you owe in the United States or Canada is supposed to depend on the market value of the property. In an ideal world the value of a given property would be black and white, in other words perfectly easy to determine accurately.

The reality however is that many variables exist that affect the real market value of a property, and the assessing process is fraught with chances for property tax assessors can make mistakes. Learning how to reduce real estate taxes on your property is first a matter of identifying mistakes that have been made, and then challenging them.

Historically there have always been a large number of property owners who are victims of these inaccurate assessments. However with the wide scale turmoil in real estate markets in the United States and Canada in recent time this disparity is even more evident.

The bottom line is that if you are a property owner, you need to understand how to reduce real estate taxes on your property and maintain a watch on this value from year to year. (Unless of course you are happy to donate extra tax money to your municipality each year.)

Once you suspect that your property is incorrectly assessed, the next step in reducing your property taxes is to determine what the current market value of your property really is. Then you need to compare this with the assessed value as listed in the current records.

You can determine your property’s market value for yourself by comparing the official assessed values of homes similar to your own, adjusting these valuations for obvious differences that might affect the value.

For instance, if a home that is otherwise identical to yours in terms of style, age, living area, construction quality and so on is situated on lakefront property and yours abuts a pig farm, you would expect them to be assessed differently. You’ll need to adjust the value of your home relative to the comparable homes accordingly.

If you know a real estate broker who might help you, he or she is likely aware of similar properties, including recent sales of properties similar to yours. This information can be used to support your case for a property tax reduction.

If you determine that in fact your property is assessed too highly, you need to present your findings to the local tax assessor (sometimes this is a board of assessors) in the town, city or county taxing authority. It’s always best to stick to the main point, that is you believe that there are other properties much like yours that are being assessed far lower than your property.

Be professional and don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Just present your findings and ask that the value of your property be adjusted to reflect these findings.

Be sure to find out what the property tax calendar for the taxing authority is, in order to be sure that you are filing your request for a tax abatement in a timely manner. Otherwise even the best arguments will be worthless, for the current property tax year anyway. If you miss the deadline you want to be sure to file your request in time to challenge next year’s real estate tax assessment.

Learning how to reduce property taxes on your property isn’t difficult, and it can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars in unnecessary tax overpayments each year.

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