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You can’t forget to work on your taxes if you wish to minimize your expenses. And one of the most significant taxes to work on is property tax! Therefore, we’ve compiled a guide on the simple steps to lower your property taxes.
Look into potential tax reliefs you qualify for
The first and most straightforward way to lower your property taxes will be to determine if you qualify for reductions or tax reliefs. That can range from a mild discount on your taxes to straight up having them entirely deducted. Of course, the difficulty of qualifying for it also significantly increases. The factors that qualify you for tax relief are low earnings, a work disability, status as a veteran, the property being used for a charity, and similar. In other words, they are all particular situations that either preclude you from being able to pay taxes usually or grant you status that justifies reducing them.
Caption: If you qualify for tax relief, you can significantly lower your property taxes.
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Try to avoid major repairs and remodeling
An interesting fact about property taxes is that the size of your property is hardly the only thing that affects them. The quality of your property plays an essential part in the taxes you are charged, too. As such, any significant repairs or remodeling projects can negatively affect your taxes. Of course, the most assured way to increase your property taxes would be to build additional buildings on your property. Even something as simple as a shed can very quickly end up causing you problems down the line if your goal is to lower your property taxes. ‘Subtle’ repairs and renovations can slip undetected, but if properly documented, they will probably have some effect. Things such as homeowners insurance do not affect taxes, however. If it’s for a rental, it can decrease them even if it’s a type of ‘improvement.
Caption: You’ll save a lot of money by limiting the renovations you do.
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Do not add more amenities to your home
Similarly to what we previously discussed, any improvements to your home’s amenities reflect poorly on your attempts to lower your property taxes. That goes double for ‘luxury’ amenities which tend to increase the property’s value sharply. The best examples of this would be a pool or a home gym, or even a home office. These are very appealing to modern home buyers and, as such, will improve your property in their eyes. But it is also something flagged during tax assessments, so if you are already struggling with justifying the tax payments for a property, they’ll probably force you to sell even if you didn’t want to.
Reduce or limit your home’s curb appeal
On paper, the cosmetics of your home do not mean much for the tax assessment. It is supposed to focus on the functional parts of your home, and looks should only apply to gauge whether something is new and high-quality. However, realistically, the assessors are people, and they tend to value nice-looking properties more. Since the value of a property decides on its taxes, this naturally means you’ll have to pay more. We’re not saying you should make your property look bad on purpose. Still, you should not apply a fresh layer of paint and pressure wash the house’s exterior before arranging a home assessment! Similarly, do not change your fixtures, outlets, and light fixtures before it either. That is a common sign of recent renovations and will tip off the assessor that your home is worth more.
Move to a different neighborhood
While lowering your property taxes is a drastic step, moving to a different neighborhood is a good choice. That is because homes in a single neighborhood have similar values. And just living in a high-class neighborhood boosts the value of your home at least a little. The opposite is also true and presents an effortless way to reduce property taxes. You can also downgrade to a slightly smaller house with lower curb appeal if you want to make the most of the move. Look for several moving estimates to get the best deal and devise a decent moving plan to minimize expenses.
Challenge your home’s assessment if you feel it’s justified
It is not too common, but it’s perfectly possible that your home’s assessment ended up giving it a higher value than you feel is justified. That can happen when a home’s curb appeal exceeds its actual condition. For example, if the pretty exterior hides severe water or foundational damage. Or even if the damage is new! That can put you in a situation where you need to juggle repair costs with monthly expenses and might even make you unable to afford your mortgage payments. If you let your existing tax payments pile up on top of that, you’d be in even more trouble. So, It’s better to request a new assessment and have them lowered considerably.
Caption: Do not rush into paying taxes until considering all options.
Get involved with the assessment yourself
The final way to lower your property taxes is to get involved with the assessment yourself. Now, yes, this hinges on our previous point of asking for a reassessment in the first place. And you might think that your presence would not affect you much. However, the assessor does not live on the property. And it’s easy for them to miss problems that are not obvious. If you follow them and point them out, you can reduce your taxes and make it a little easier to manage your finances annually.
The journey to lower your property taxes
As you can tell, even following our simple steps to lower your property taxes is not easy. You’ll need to put in enough work and planning to pull it off. Still, the results will be worth it and may just be what helps you set aside more money for your savings! So, don’t hesitate to try even if you’re not sure it will work!
Meta Description: Check out our guide on the simple steps to lower your property taxes to save some money and start improving your finances!
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