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Getting the Goods on Property Taxes


For those who own real estate, property taxes are the fundamental hallmark of realty ownership. No matter where in the world a person goes, they will find nearly every country has some form of property tax and that each has their own way of formulating contributions. In countries like the United States, property taxes are levied using the land or real estate's value. The value is figured with a thorough appraisal by a tax assessor from an area taxation office. While the rates can vary from one jurisdiction to another, they are typically applied in the form of a percentage. These taxes are paid on an annual basis.

Property taxes help to fund the budget for the immediate community. City parks, libraries and other publicly used venues and services depend on the generation of property taxes in order to exist. When a tax assessor looks to establish what a property is worth, they will generally start by determining both the value of the building and the land on which it sits. This information is often compared to figures from the year before. Once all the necessary data is formulated, property taxes can be levied and collected by the appropriate officials. Most areas provide an appeal process for property owners wishing to challenge the assessed amount.

There are a number of things that can affect property taxes both positively and negatively. This can include but is not limited to:

• Changing property market values in the immediate area
• Shifts in market value of surrounding areas
• State, county or municipal budget or levy changes
• The approval of a school, annexation or other referendum
• Special assessments such as sidewalks, gutters or other improvements to a neighborhood

In most instances, property owners have a say when factors develop that affect the amount of taxes residents will pay. In most instances, they either condone or reject proposals that will raise their taxes by voting on the issue.

Other types of property taxes have to do with the ownership of personal property such as cars, boats and even airplanes. Personal items found in a household are exempt from this tax, however. For businesses, a property tax can be levied based on the certain types of inventory it uses to operate. As these taxes are typically levied by states, the percentage rates will often vary. The tax is typically paid on an annual basis. It is not uncommon for both cities and states to try and attract new residents and businesses with the promise of lower property taxes.

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