How to Reduce Property Taxes
Part of being a responsible homeowner is paying your property taxes twice a year (November and February). What can you do to ensure your taxes are as low as possible?
Check for Errors – Always review your property’s record card for errors. This can be found at the assessor’s office or even on their website. A mistake in the paperwork could make your taxes much higher than they should be for your property. Check for the appropriate number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square feet for your property. Notify your assessor of the mistake for a fix to the problem and potentially lower the bill.
Compare to Similar Properties in Area – Property record cards are public record. You can easily check on similar properties while you peruse your own card. Compare your bill to similar properties in your neighborhood or closely surrounding areas to make sure your bill is reasonably similar to other like properties. If it is significantly higher than a property nearly identical to your own, a couple questions to your assessor might be in order to make sure you were not quoted a higher bill than what you should actually owe.
Tax Exemptions – Do you qualify for a tax exemption? Often times tax exemptions are given to primary homeowners, senior citizens, and veterans. Know what you qualify for and make sure you are getting the discount.
Refrain from Building – Expanding might seem like a good idea but come time for property taxes, you might notice a significant increase in the amount you owe. Building on your property ups the value but also the amount of taxes you owe. So do some research before you add on that spare bedroom, studio, or in-law unit. You might end up paying more than you bargained for.
Be smart when reviewing your property tax bill and property records. Not all properties are the same and not all taxes will be alike. Look for obvious or major discrepancies and work from there. Arguing minor details could turn out to be stressful and not worth your time in the end as they could have no real affect on the taxes you owe.