An Overview of Procedures in Property Ownership Taxes

Property taxes generate income for many things in your local economy. Local governments rely on property taxes for a huge percentage of their operating expenses. They use this money to build roads, pay law enforcement and fire fighters and provide local government. There are many uses for the money and without property owners paying taxes, none of this would be possible. If you are new to real estate, you are probably unfamiliar with how real estate property taxes work. While each county does it a little bit differently, here are some general things to know about how the property ownership tax procedure works.

Assessment

The first part of the process is the property assessment. Each property within your county has to go through an assessment process at some point. This is done by the county assessor. Your county assessor is an elected official that is in charge of valuing property in the county. 

When you buy a house, your information will be available to the county government. You have to register with the assessor's office and tell them all of the things that you own. The assessor will assign a value to your property. They rarely will do a detailed appraisal of a property. They usually just use a per-square-foot price and apply it to your square footage to get the number that they need. They will then use this calculation to come up with a value for the property. Rarely is the assessed value equal to the actual value of the property. If you feel like your property is grossly overestimated, then you can file an appeal with the assessor's office and they can do a new report. 

Based on this assessed value of your property, you will be responsible for a certain amount of property tax over the course of the year. Each county has what is called a millage rate and you will pay a percentage of money in taxes based on that number. 

How Taxes are Paid

How you pay your taxes will vary, depending on the county and the person. One of the most common ways to pay taxes is to have them included with your monthly mortgage payment. When you have a mortgage payment, you are used to making a monthly payment each month. Since taxes can be substantial when paid all at once, it is easier to simply add a few dollars to your payment each month than to try and pay them all at the same time.

These funds are put into an escrow account by your mortgage company and then the mortgage company pays them for you at the end of the year. This helps to take the burden off of you and place it onto the mortgage company that holds your note. Since they have a vested interest in making sure that your house is free and clear, they will usually take care of it without a problem. 

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