Culture of Life
Reduce Property Taxes
Yes, Catholic, there are some ways to ethically reduce your property tax bill. By Phil Lenahan.
BY PHIL LENAHAN
January 14-20, 2007 Issue | Posted 1/10/07 at 11:00 AM
bought a home a year ago, when prices were at their peak. Because of the high
prices in our state,
While each state is different when it comes to property taxes — some have none at all — and specific suggestions would vary state by state, there are steps you can take to reduce your tax burden. Many people have experienced substantial increases in property taxes over the last few years with the rapid run-up in real-estate prices. Now that there is a softening in the housing market, it’s a good time to see if you can save more than a little money.
Since I live in
In most counties in
Several years ago, I had success at reducing our property taxes by challenging the assessed value of our home.
When the county re-assesses property based on market conditions, they are doing so at a fairly generic level. They aren’t getting a specific appraisal for each property but rather applying a general formula based on overall market conditions.
Now is a good time to look for savings on two fronts. First, with the run-up in prices over the last several years, it’s possible your home has been over-assessed. If you can show that your home’s value has not increased at the same rate as the county average, you have a good chance of achieving a reduction in the assessed value.
Second, now that prices are on the decline, you’ll want to make sure your county is making the appropriate adjustment. Check out Zillow.com to get one estimate of your home’s current market value and compare it to your assessed amount. If it’s less, you may want to petition your assessor for an adjustment that will save you some money.
Because this leads to a loss in revenue for the county, many will be much slower to send out announcements reducing assessments than they will when it comes to raising the valuations. It’s up to you to keep an eye on it to make sure they’re being objective.
If your house has truly gone up in value and you can’t reasonably argue for a reduction, make a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the fact that he has blessed you with a home of greater value. God love you!
Phil Lenahan is presdent
of Veritas Financial
Ministries (VeritasFinancial Ministries.com).
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