As the US housing market stays hot the number of property tax fraud investigations and property owners protesting their bills may be heating up too.
News of these property tax fights may have been overshadowed by the election coverage so far in 2016, but you can be sure they will be a significant factor when it comes time to vote. What has been in clear focus for most is that the US housing market has been marching upward fast. There has been a huge appetite for investment properties. Rents have rocketed, and home and condo prices are up significantly.
Housing in North America in general has been so hot that Canada is already being called on to cool its market by raising rates and restricting lending. What we are all dealing with is the fact that higher property prices lead to higher property bills, and fraud to avoid them too.
In the past fraudsters have been blamed for pumping up housing prices for profit. In an interesting twist last week Orange County, Florida announced it has recovered $550M in property tax revenue that owners tried to skimp on, often by claiming exemptions they weren’t entitled to.
The other side of this issue is represented in Denton County, Texas where tax roll expectations are up 18% over last year. Here 35,000 owners have contested their tax bills already, with tens of thousands more expected to do so this year alone. Still this represents only about 10% to 15% of local owners, where the number of those that may be eligible for property tax bill reductions in New York may be as high as 48% each year. And that’s unlikely to change with so many tens of billions of dollars up for the taking by tax authorities who often aren’t challenged by property owners.
So what should owners be doing?
It is important to avoid the temptation to cheat on property taxes with exemptions you are not entitled to. The penalties for tax fraud of all types can be severe.
Thankfully there is legal help in reviewing and challenging your annual property tax bills and getting them reduced. And don’t forget to keep an eye on falling values in the future and make sure you get credit then too.
Get in touch with Property Tax Adjusters, Ltd. today and find out how much you can save the legal way…