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What to Do If Your Property Taxes Increase in One Year

What to Do If Your Property Taxes Increase in One Year

What to Do If Your Property Taxes Increase in One Year

Property taxes are a significant expense for homeowners, and an unexpected increase can strain your budget. If you face higher property taxes, it’s essential to understand why this happened and what steps you can take to manage the increase. Here’s a guide on what to do if your property taxes increase in one year.

Understand the Reason for the Increase

The first step is to understand why your property taxes have increased. There are several common reasons for an increase:

  1. Property Reassessment: Your local government periodically reassesses property values to ensure taxes reflect current market values. If your property’s assessed value increases, so will your taxes.
  2. Tax Rate Changes: Local governments can change tax rates to meet budgetary needs. An increase in the tax rate will result in higher property taxes.
  3. Improvements or Additions: If you’ve made significant improvements or additions to your property, such as adding a room or renovating, your property value—and consequently your taxes—may increase.
  4. Exemption Changes: Changes in tax exemptions, such as homestead exemptions or senior citizen exemptions, can also affect your property taxes.

Review Your Property Tax Assessment

Once you understand the reason for the increase, review your property tax assessment closely. Assessors sometimes make errors, and your property may have been overvalued. Here’s what to do:

  1. Request a Copy of the Assessment: Contact your local tax assessor’s office for a detailed property assessment.
  2. Compare with Similar Properties: Look at the assessed values of similar properties in your neighborhood. You may have grounds to contest the assessment if there’s a significant discrepancy.
  3. Check for Errors: Ensure all details about your property are correct, including the square footage, number of rooms, and any improvements.

Appeal the Assessment

If you believe your property has been over-assessed, you can appeal. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Understand the Process: Each locality has its appeal process. Check your local assessor’s website or contact their office for specific steps.
  2. Gather Evidence: Collect evidence to support your claim, such as recent appraisals, photos of your property, and assessments of comparable properties.
  3. File the Appeal: Submit your appeal according to the local guidelines, including all necessary forms and supporting documents.
  4. Attend the Hearing: Be prepared to present your case at a hearing. Explain why you believe your property has been overvalued and provide evidence.

Explore Tax Relief Programs

Many local governments offer tax relief programs to help homeowners manage property taxes. These programs might include:

  1. Homestead Exemptions: Some states provide exemptions that reduce the taxable value of your primary residence.
  2. Senior Citizen Exemptions: If you’re a senior citizen, you may qualify for additional exemptions or tax deferrals.
  3. Veteran Exemptions: Veterans or their surviving spouses might be eligible for property tax relief.
  4. Income-Based Programs: Some programs offer tax relief based on your income level.

Budget for Future Increases

To manage future property tax increases, incorporate potential increases into your budget. Consider setting aside a portion of your monthly income into a savings account designated for property taxes. This can help cushion the impact of any future increases.

Conclusion

Increasing property taxes can be challenging, but understanding the reasons and your options can help you manage the situation effectively. Review your assessment carefully, appeal if necessary, and explore available tax relief programs. By staying informed and proactive, you can better handle the financial impact of rising property taxes.

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