Another year has come and gone and property taxes are once again due. I urge you to look closely at your property tax bills, as they often contain errors. For example, this year, our tax bill was $512 MORE than it was supposed to be due to a clerical error in our local tax office omitting a basic exemption on our bill. Here’s what you need to know about Property Taxes- How to Save HUNDREDS!
Understand the Exemptions
Many states (46 of them!) and counties offer huge discounts that can be applied to your property tax bill, decreasing the tax burden on the taxpaying homeowner.
The homestead exemption is one of the more common exemptions that you or your family may qualify for. This homestead exemption can be based on several qualifying factors:
- Age (65 and over, generally)
- Disability or Handicaps
- Title Basis- fee simple or partial title to the house or life estate (In basic terms- if you’ve owned your home for the year and Lived IN it, as opposed to owning a property and renting it out)
Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit
The residential energy efficient property credit is for homes that have made upgrades and improvements in the area of energy efficiency.
- Some areas give a credit of 30% of your costs for qualifying properties (those that use solar electricity, solar water heating, and fuel cell property).
- Solar Property Tax Exemptions by State
This particular exemption varies greatly from state to state. Sometimes it requires a veteran to be disabled as a result of service in order to qualify. Others have annual income limits that apply, for example, in Alabama, the veteran must be 100% disabled as a result of service with an annual net income of $12,000 or less.
Some veterans’ discounts are based on age and not ability or disability. For example, in Maine, if a veteran is 62 years of age or older and is 100% disabled, they receive a discount of up to $6,000 off their primary residence.
Widow & Widower’s Exemption
If your spouse passed away, you may qualify for an exemption, depending on your state. Usually, the states that participate in this credit allow for a $500 tax credit. This means that the taxable value of the property is reduced by $500 for the surviving spouse.
Disability Exemption for Ex-Service Member
Ex-service members often get discounts of up to 10%. This is entirely dependent upon the state and county.
School Tax Relief
Some states offer a refundable property tax credit based on a school tax relief credit.
Although each State is different, nearly ALL states offer exemptions based on varying factors. Generally speaking, the homestead exemption is based on a fixed monetary amount, such as the first $50,000 of the property’s assessed value. Which means, that a home valued at $150,000 would be taxed only on $100,000, which results in quite a substantial savings.
How do I get the exemption?
Some states require that you fill out an application and “prove” that you meet the guidelines. In our case, they required a utility bill to “prove” we’d been living in our home. Simply go to your local tax office (usually at the City Hall or Town Hall) and request information on property tax exemptions, particularly, the homestead exemption.
In some cases, if you’ve been a resident for several years and the town has neglected to apply the discount, you may be able to get them to give you retroactive discounts, thereby giving you a tax credit or property tax refund.
Wouldn’t it be great to start off the year with an extra chunk of change in your pocket for 10 minutes of your time?
See Also: How to Contest your Property Taxes & Win
Tax Exemption Link By State: please feel free to add your state using the comment boxes below
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
How to Find your state if it’s not listed:
Google the following: (Your State Name) Property Tax Exemptions