Many states impose limits on how local jurisdictions may tax property. Because many properties are subject to tax by more than one local jurisdiction, some states provide a method by which values are made uniform among such jurisdictions. Property tax is rarely self-computed by the owner. The tax becomes a legally enforceable obligation attaching to the property at a specific date.
Most states impose taxes resembling property tax on vehicles registered in the state, and some states tax some other types of business property. Most jurisdictions below the state level in the United States impose a tax on interests in real property land, buildings, and permanent improvements that are considered under state law to be ownership interests.
Some jurisdictions also tax some types of business personal property, particularly inventory and equipment. Many overlapping jurisdictions may have authority to tax the same property. Few states impose a tax on the value of property. The tax is based on fair market value of the subject property, and generally attaches to the property on a specific date. The owner of the property on that date is liable for the tax.
The amount of tax is determined annually based on market value of each property on a particular date,  and most jurisdictions require redeterminations of value periodically. The tax is computed as the determined market value times an assessment ratio times the tax rate.
Tax assessors for taxing jurisdictions determine property values in a variety of ways, but are generally required to base such determinations on fair market value. Where a property has recently been sold between unrelated sellers, such sale establishes fair market value. In other i. Common estimation techniques include the comparable sales method, the depreciated cost method, and an income method approach. Property owners may also declare a value, which is subject to change by the tax assessor. Once the value is determined, the assessor typically notifies the last known property owner of the value determination.
Such notices may include the calculated amount of tax. The property owner may then contest the value. After values are settled, property tax bills or notices are sent to property owners. If a property owner fails to pay the tax, the taxing jurisdiction has various remedies for collection, in many cases including seizure and sale of the property.taylor.evolt.org/map126.php
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Property taxes constitute a lien on the property to which transferees are also subject. Nearly all property tax imposing jurisdictions tax real property. Many jurisdictions also tax certain types of other property used in a business. Property existing and located in the jurisdiction on a particular date is subject to this tax. This date is often January 1 of each year, but varies among jurisdictions. Property owned by educational, charitable, and religious organizations is usually exempt.
Tax rates vary widely among jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, property is taxed based on its classification. Classification is the grouping of properties based on similar use. Examples of classification are residential, commercial, industrial, vacant, and blighted real property. Property classification are used to tax properties at different rates and for different public policy purposes. In Washington D. The rate of tax is a percentage of the assessed value of the property subject to tax.
This in some cases is expressed as a "millage" or dollars of tax per thousand dollars of assessed value. Most jurisdictions impose the tax on some stated portion of fair market value, referred to as an assessment ratio.
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The assessment ratio can, in many jurisdictions, be changed from year to year by the taxing jurisdiction's governing body. Changes in tax rate or assessment ratio may have the same practical effect of changing net tax due on a particular property. Determining the value of property is a critical aspect of property taxation, as such value determines the amount of tax due. Various techniques may be used to determine value. Except in the case of property recently sold, valuation has some inherently subjective aspects.
Values may change over time, and many states require taxing jurisdictions to redetermine values every three or four years. The value of property is often determined based on current use of the property, rather than potential uses. Property owners may make a declaration of the value of property they own to a taxing authority.
This is often referred to as rendition. The value determinations are generally made by a tax assessor for the taxing authority. Some states require uniform values to be determined for each particular property. Property values are generally based on fair market value of the property on the valuation date. Fair market value has been defined as that price a willing and informed purchaser would pay to an unrelated willing and informed seller where neither party is under compulsion to act.
Sale of the particular property between unrelated persons generally conclusively establishes fair market value on the date of sale.
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Thus, a recent sale of the same property provides good evidence of market value. Where there has been no recent sale, other techniques must be used to determine market value. Many jurisdictions impose tax on a value that is only a portion of market value. This assessed value is the market value times an assessment ratio.
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However, some states impose constraints on the assessment ratios used by taxing jurisdictions within the state. Some states impose restrictions on the rate at which assessed value may increase. Many states require that multiple jurisdictions taxing the same property must use the same market value.
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Tax assessors may use a variety of techniques for determining the value of property that was not recently sold. Values may be determined based on recent sales of comparable property. Valuation adjustments may be necessary to achieve comparability. Among the factors considered in determining if a property is comparable are:. Where recent comparable property sales are not available, a cost based approach may be used. In this approach, the original or replacement cost of a property is reduced by an allowance for decline in value depreciation of improvements. Where original cost is used, it may be adjusted for inflation or increases or decreases in cost of constructing improvements.
Replacement cost may be determined by estimates of construction costs. An alternative valuation may be used for income producing property based on economic concepts. Using the income approach, value is determined based on present values expected income streams from the property. Most taxing jurisdictions provide that property used in any of several manners is subject to special valuation procedures. Some jurisdictions value property at its "highest and best use", with some of these providing exceptions for homes or agricultural land. All taxing jurisdictions recognize that values of property may change over time.
Thus, values must be redetermined periodically. Many states and localities require that the value of property be redetermined at three or four year intervals. Some jurisdictions have set limits on how much property values may be increased from year to year for property tax purposes. The assessment process varies widely by jurisdiction as to procedure and timing. The property tax is primarily a local government revenue. Counties and cities depend on the property tax and a portion of the income tax to make up their budgets.
Now for a word on the Homestead Deduction. If your primary residence is in the District, and you own that property, you are eligible for the Homestead Deduction. Usually, if you buy a home in DC, this is a form that you sign at closing.
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I live and work in the District of Columbia. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. An equalization appeal is quite different, and is based directly on the constitutional guarantee of Equal Protection. Sounds good, right? If comparable properties are assessed at a much lower percentage of their market value, you have grounds for appeal based on equalization, regardless of whether your house is assessed at or below market value.