As the value of your home increases over time, your property taxes will also increase – until you reach the point where you find it almost impossible to afford your own house. These taxes are a hidden and heavy cost on anyone who owns property. But if you’re really feeling the pressure, there are several ways to overcome it. Let’s take a look.
1. Get your property reassessed
The tax you pay on your property is determined by something called an assessment which is basically the estimated value of your property. Often, the value that your home is assessed at isn’t what it’s actually worth. So if you feel your property taxes are too high, a reassessment can helping bring them down. The first thing to do is to get in touch with a real estate appraiser who has experience in market estimates. They’ll re-evaluate how much your home is actually worth to estimate its market value. If the market value turns out to be lower than you thought, you can get your tax amount adjusted accordingly.
2. Use a property tax relief program
Property tax relief programs can help lower, freeze or even exempt you from property taxes. The programs differ from state to state (and even county to county). For example, Tennessee offers programs in 23 different counties and 30 cities. A quick internet search will tell you what kinds of tax relief programs are available in your area. You will be accepted into a program if you meet its qualifications.
3. Look for exemptions
If you qualify for an exemption, you won’t have to pay any property tax at all. For example, veteran or military service members, people with certain disabilities, senior citizens and people who live on agricultural property are all exempt from paying property tax. There are other qualifications as well. Check with your local tax authority to find out what they are and determine whether any apply to you.
4. Appeal your tax bill
This is the option you turn to when you’ve run out of all your options. A tax appeal can save you thousands of dollars. You’ll have to hire a lawyer to file one for you. Your lawyer will also help with all the documents you need for the appeal. The appeal will be reviewed after it’s been received by your local tax board – a procedure that can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Of course, you may not be successful. But if you are, the assessment value of your property will be lowered. Along with the taxes you pay on it.
5. Search for discounts
It will require some time on the internet, but it’s possible to find discounts like homestead exemptions and lower assessments for senior citizens. You might also be able to save on aspects like managing property tax – assessments and tax appeals, for instance. The truth is, information is your best friend. The internet is your most powerful tool, but talk to people you think could help you as well. The more you learn about property tax, the easier it is to pay less of it.