The average American household pays $2,197 on property taxes each year. Coupled with rising debt and stagnant incomes, it’s no wonder that so many families struggle to come up with the money. The better news is that if you’re in the same boat there are tricks that can help you lower that property tax bill, whether it’s in Charlotte or any other city.
Look for Errors
Property tax bill errors aren’t uncommon as tax assessors don’t always get it right. Be sure to look for errors on your property card which includes an assessment of the value of your home. If you think it’s too high, you have the right to file an appeal. Did the assessor add an extra bedroom by mistake? It happens. If there is a legitimate reason to appeal, you’re likely to win.
Get an Outside Appraiser
If the assessor insists there isn’t a mistake in the assessment, but you still believe your property is being valued too high, you may want to get an outside appraiser. While not all jurisdictions allow you to hire one to boost your appeal chances, if yours does, it can go a long way in convincing your side of the case.
When It’s Time for the Assessor to Come By, Don’t Make it Shine
While we aren’t encouraging you to trash your own place, you should know that the nicer your house looks, the more you could end up paying on the property tax bill. Some assessments are even done on just a drive-by basis. They’ll compare your house to your neighbors’ homes and to others in the area. If yours looks a lot better than the one with an un-mowed lawn next door, guess who’s going to pay more? The bottom line is that if you know an assessor is coming by, don’t go out of your way to make your home look so good that it stands out from the rest.
You Might Qualify for a Circuit Breaker Tax Credit
Many states offer a circuit breaker tax credit which is aimed to provide relief for those who pay a significant portion of their income to property tax. It caps the bill at a certain percentage of your income which can vary by state. Some use a sliding scale – the less you earn, the more the tax bill is reduced. While you’ll still have to pay the total property tax bill, you’ll get a rebate for what you overpaid.
If You’re Eligible, You Can Get a Tax Break Under the Greenbelt Law
Those who own a large parcel of land that’s either open space, forest or used for farming, may qualify for a tax break under the greenbelt law. You’ll need to check with the department of taxation in your state to get specific eligibility requirements. Some require that the land be accessible to the public, which means the loss of privacy may not be worth the money you’d save on your property tax bill.