Owning a home is definitely an expensive affair, as property taxes can be extremely burdensome. Annual property tax bills tend to rise steadily over time and that’s the reason behind paying the hefty amount paid in property taxes. The taxes keep coming even after paying off the mortgage, which makes it an infinite expense. Most home owners end up paying more at the end of the day and they don’t even understand how their property tax is calculated! Most home owners take their tax assessment at face value and the sad reality is that their property may be over assessed! Now, it is really important to know how your property taxes are calculated so you can take necessary steps to save your hard earned cash without paying a dollar more than you should.

Step 1: Know the process: Local government in your province/state will send a notice within the first few months of the year, although the schedule may vary. You will get a specific contact number with the notice, outlining the steps needed to challenge your assessment usually in the form of phone, email, or fax. There you can get all the details related to making an appeal within a specific tenure of time during which you may challenge or file a case. This time frame varies in different provinces/states, so make sure you are on time. In some provinces/states the time frame is 2 weeks while in others it may be up to six weeks or 90 days. However, the one thing you need to consider is the closing time of the appeal window. You should not miss it under any circumstance as it could seriously hurt your ability to appeal the property assessment or tax.

Step 2: Know your property assessment details: Make a request for your property tax card and review it. The property tax card always comes with the assessment notice and the best part is that most jurisdictions allow you to access it online. You can also ask for a copy of the property tax card from the local property assessment body.

The property card includes information used by the assessment to determine the assessed value of your home such as; the size of your property, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms along with the lot dimensions, primary structure information, access, secondary buildings (such as a garage), etc.

It is really important to check the card very carefully and if you find any mistakes in the assessment then you should immediately request a change and appeal the property assessment before the deadline. At the end of the day it is your hard earned money and you don’t want to waste it without reason.

Step 3: Get a professional’s advice: It is a very obvious fact once you delve into the world of assessment that you won’t know everything about property assessment and that’s the reason it is really important to take a professional help who can find all the hidden issues and guide you through a proper channel, so that you can easily avoid paying additional property tax. Another aspect that the professional will provide is knowledge of the area and the ability to find comparable properties, as well as building a case for you as support in a property tax appeal.

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