Property Taxes Lawyers

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What are Property Taxes?

Property taxes are imposed by most state or local government authorities on real estate property owned by persons living in the area.  This is mostly done for the purposes of generating revenue for the city or state.  State property taxes help fund government services such as emergency response teams (EMT’s), education, and disaster assistance. 

Property tax is determined by a flat rate percentage of the value of the taxpayer’s property. Tax rates vary from one county to another, but are the same for every resident of a given district. Several levels of the government are allowed to collect property tax. These include states, counties, school districts, and fire districts. The property value of the property is determined through an assessment by a government appointed inspector. As property value increases or decreases, so does the owner’s tax liability.  

How Much Will I Be Required to Pay in Property Taxes?

This depends- property tax rates will be different in each state, and sometimes even in different jurisdictions.  In most cases, citizens are taxed a percentage of the worth of their property. 

Thus, property tax rates may differ according to the value of the property.  If the value of an item of real estate is in question, the government will sometimes send an appraiser to determine the worth of the home or property.  They will then apply the percentage rate to the property’s “appraised value”.  Some types of homes and property arrangements are associated with different tax benefits.   

What Happens if You Don’t Pay Property Taxes?

Failure to pay property taxes can result in a number of negative consequences for the property owner.  First, the non-payment of property taxes can lead to a tax lien imposed by the government.  This may eventually lead to a forfeiture of the property in a foreclosure proceeding. In some states, the property itself is sold at the tax sale to the highest bidder. In other states, the purchaser does not buy the property itself but receives a certificate of purchase. When the redemption period expires, the purchaser obtains title to the property.

Not paying taxes on property can also hinder the sales process when selling a home.  All real estate needs to have “marketable title” in order to be sold or purchased.  Having tax debt on the property can make the title unmarketable.  The sale can be delayed if the property needs to go through a “quiet title” hearing first, in order to resolve the title issues.

Property taxes can sometimes be contested through the state or local legislature/voting system.  Property taxes need to be approved through voting, and so citizen participation in local governments can often help keep property taxes fair and reasonable.  This is especially important for communities that are undergoing restructuring or are seeing much new real estate development. 

Do I Need an Attorney for Assistance With Property Taxes?

Property taxes are an essential aspect of any community, but they can sometimes be challenging to deal with.  If you have any questions or legal disputes involving property taxes, you may wish to hire a lawyer for assistance.  Your attorney will be able to inform you on the tax laws in your area, and can provide you with valuable legal advice.  Also, if you have any disputes or conflicts over taxes or real estate property, your lawyer can help represent you in a lawsuit. 

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Last Modified: 04-18-2016 12:34 PM PDT

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