Death and Taxes (On your house)
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” – Ben Franklin
Property taxes have long been the primary source of revenue for our local county and city governments. The bad news for homeowners is that means every year they have to fork over thousands of dollars in property tax to the county government. Which begs the question: “Where does my property tax bill come from, or how do they determine what I owe?”
State law provides that each County will employ a “County Assessor” whose job it is to determine how much your property is worth a/k/a your “assessed value”. Your assessed value is important because it is the base figure by which your tax bill is computed, and is determined using several factors, including recent sales of your property, major improvements to your home, and recent appraisals done by certified appraisers. Once every five years, the “County Assessor” will perform a county wide “re-appraisal” of all property, and send out a re-assessment notice to all property owners indicating a new “assessed value” of your property. Property can also be reassessed upon a sale of the property, or a major improvement or addition to the property.
In our state, there are two main rates for paying property tax, 4% for owner occupied primary residences, and 6% for all other property, including investment property, second homes, and commercial property. In order to qualify for the 4% rate, you must proactively fill out paperwork with the County to elect the primary residence rate. The Assessor’s office will default all new purchases of land to a 6% tax ratio, so take special care to ensure that your tax bill reflects the accurate tax ratio.
Millage Rate and your Tax Amount
Each year county determines its tax rate by dividing the cost of its annual budget by the total assessed value of all property within the county. The resulting number gives us what is known as the “millage rate”. When you take your property value, multiply it by your tax ratio, and then multiply again by the “millage rate” you will come up with your annual property tax amount.
Property Value Tax Ratio Assessed Value Millage Rate Property Tax
$250,000 x .04 = $10,000 x .275 = $2,750
The Bottom Line
Property Tax bills can be confusing, but a good Real Estate Lawyer can help you figure out the correct rate and provide advice to assist with any problems that may come up. If you have any questions, or would like to speak further with a Real Estate Attorney, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 864-232-3541, we’d be glad to help!