Why do we have property taxes?
What are property taxes for? What are the dangers of overpaying? How can property owners avoid being over-charged?
The Purpose of Property Taxes
Property taxes are a source of revenue for governing authorities. Some destinations, like New York and Long Island rely heavily on property taxes. Other states and countries get the bulk of their revenue from sales taxes and state income taxes, or tax rebates from federal income taxes. Some places have no property taxes.
When we talk about property taxes we are typically talking about recurring annual property tax levies on property owners. Though there can also be property taxes on the transfer and sale of real estate, on estates, and special taxes on foreign buyers and sellers.
Annual property taxes are used for a variety of public services. Where the money goes can depend on the local authority. In NY the Department of Taxation and Finance says funds are used for the following services.
- Road maintenance
- Police and fire protection
- Town, county, village, city purposes
In some places like Miami some funds are used for local programs like affordable housing and helping the homeless.
How You Are Taxed
Annual property tax bills are levied based on the tax assessed value of your property x the tax rate. The assessed value of your property is based on the comparable values of other local properties, and characteristics like square footage, bedrooms, location, bathrooms, condition, etc.
Why Not to Overpay on Your Taxes
Property taxes clearly have their uses and value. We generally appreciate education, police, and public services. Though some may argue that property taxes are unnecessary and are simply a way to retain control over the land, or to technically keep everyone as renters. Still, while it is good to support core public services, over paying can lead to corruption, inefficiencies, and waste. If people allow themselves to be consistently victimized with unfairly levied bills, and then don’t hold authorities responsible, then just expect the situation to get worse. It may be wiser to challenge incorrect bills, and if driven to it; use the difference to directly contribute to good causes like supporting education, healthcare, afterschool programs, innovative social startups, and more.
Unequally levied property tax bills have been a major issue recently. Especially, in Nassau County. Fortunately, Property Tax Adjusters, Ltd. can help you evaluate how much you are being overcharged, and file an appeal on your behalf to get your property tax assessments and bills reduced. Get in touch today to find out how much you could be saving every year…