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What is Property Tax?

Property tax is a tax levied by your state on the property you own. Most states only tax real property (real estate), but some states also tax personal property.

How Much Property Tax Do I Have to Pay?

Each state has a different tax rate for property. Generally, you are taxed a percentage of your property's "appraised value."

There are several ways the government determines how much your property is worth, or its "appraised value." Usually they use the purchase price of your home or land to determine how much they should tax it. Your property tax will change with time as the real estate market fluctuates and your property is re-appraised, also known as equalization.

My Property Tax is Very High. What Should I Do?

If you believe the government has overvalued your property and are charging you too much in property tax, you can contest the appraisal of your property.

Each state has different regulations about how to contest a property tax appraisal. Most states offer a hearing before the body that does land appraisals. In that hearing, you are given an opportunity to present evidence of how the government overvalued your home. The hearing body will then make a ruling on whether or not the original appraisal was correct.

All states guarantee you an appeal if you are dissatisfied with the property tax ruling. Property tax determinations can be appealed to either an appealing governing body or your state's courts, depending on your state.

Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me with My Property Tax Matter?

Property tax law can be very complicated. To make matters worse, every state has different property tax laws and different appeal processes. An attorney can help you understand your state's property tax law and determine whether you are paying a fair property tax. If necessary, a lawyer can help you contest the appraisal of your home or bring an appeal.

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Last Modified: 06-03-2015 03:15 PM PDT

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