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Real Property Taxes

Mortgage Library: Closing of Your Mortgage: Closing Costs: Real Property Taxes

Property taxes are generally charged in relation to the assessed value of the property. Taxable value is the assessed value of property minus the amount of any tax exemptions. The tax due is calculated by multiplying the taxable value by the tax rate. The tax rate -- stated in mills -- is set by the taxing authority for the governmental unit within which the property is located. A mill is one dollar per thousand dollars. For example, a tax rate of eight mills is a tax of eight dollars for each one thousand dollars of taxable value of the property. According to the American Housing Survey data the median annual taxes per $1,000 value averages $12.

The proposed tax bill is mailed to the taxpayer, usually in August or September. If you don't agree with the tax assessment you may file an appeal against this notice with the appropriate assessment appeals board. The actual tax bill is mailed to the taxpayer, usually by November 1. There are discounts for early payment and penalties for delinquency.

Property Tax Exemptions

Special tax incentives are available on property that meets certain criteria.

Homestead Exemption. Every person who has legal or equitable title to real property and who resides on the property is eligible for a homestead exemption.

Homestead Improvement. Homeowners who have made improvements to properties used exclusively for residential purposes may qualify for the homestead improvement exemption.

Platted and Subdivided Land. In counties with less tan two million inhabitants, the improvement of certain platted and subdivided land may qualify for a preferential assessment.

Environmental Incentives. For example, when a solar energy system has been installed as an improvement on any real property, the owner may claim an alternate assessment.

Other possible exemptions include:

Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption
Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption
Special Incentives for Historic Property
Widow's and Widower's Exemption

Prepayment of Property Taxes. Discounts are available to taxpayers who want to prepay property taxes on the installment plan.

Tax Deferral. You may elect to defer payment of part of the ad-valorem (property) taxes. For additional information as to the number of years, total amounts that may be deferred, and interest on deferred taxes, contact the local tax collector.

Please refer to your local taxing authority for detailed information concerning eligibility and the necessary documents and forms required to apply for tax exemptions.


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