Have you started packing yet? Where are we going? To Texas! Why? Because there are no property taxes in Texas. It’s true. Texans only pay local taxes. They don’t pay property taxes based upon assessment, but the rest of us do.
The methods that local governments use to assess property tax differ from municipality to municipality. The first thing you need to do, in order to find ways to lower them, is to find out how the municipality in which you reside determines property value.
In most cases, local officials make a periodic assessment of your property in order to determine its value. This value is then attributed to a property tax. You must pay this tax every year. The tax is assessed in return for services such as police, fire, ambulance, road repairs, street lighting, etc.
Review you property tax information. The municipality that governs your area, in most instances this is the county or parish, keeps records on your property. These records include things like lot size, square footage, number of rooms, additions or modifications, and architectural style of the home. Double check this information to be certain it’s correct. If you’ve had recent additions or improvements that you do not see recorded here, you may want to avoid asking about it, because making them aware of these improvements could actually raise your property taxes.
If you are thinking of making major home renovations like building a pool, adding a deck, or even constructing a shed, remember that these improvements will, no doubt, raise your property taxes. In some areas this list extends to include property improvements like replacement windows, aluminum or vinyl siding, painting, and fencing.
If you think that your property is being valued too high, you can appeal to your tax authority. You will probably be granted an opportunity for a hearing, at which time you must be prepared to back up your claims with solid documentation. Local governments are not likely to reduce property taxes unless you can make a very persuasive argument for them doing so.
A guaranteed way to lower your property taxes is to move to a smaller property. Perhaps you are of retirement age and your children no longer live with you. If they are too high for you to pay and the struggle is impacting your quality of life, you might want to consider moving to a smaller home in the same general vicinity, or moving to a new location where property taxes are lower.
The homeowners in Texas should be aware of the process by which property taxes are imposed on them