There’s More Than One Way for Atlanta Homeowners to Lower Property Tax Bill
What's the scariest thing about the month of October? If you're a homeowner, it isn't Halloween - it's (gulp) your property tax bill.
But there might be a silver lining - property tax season is the one time when having the worth of your home decrease is a good thing. According to the National Taxpayers Union, up to 60 percent of homeowners could be overcharged because their home isn't valued correctly. With most of us struggling to just pay the mortgage, let alone a too-high tax bill, it's time to take action, say Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.
Homeowners often avoid challenging a property tax bill because they're intimidated by the appeals process. But there's no need to be. County assessor's offices deal with appeals all the time, and in a third of cases, they grant lower taxes. The worst that could happen is that your bill stays the same; the best is that it gets adjusted lower.
If you believe your bill might not accurately reflect your home's current value, your first step is a trip to the assessor's office - you can find the address on your bill or, usually, on your county's website. Find out what the appeal deadline is and what forms you need. While you're at it, you can pick up a copy of your property card, the document that lists information about your home used to determine its worth. Sometimes errors occur on the card - for instance, an extra bedroom or a garage that doesn't exist - that artificially inflate the value of your house. Lowering your taxes might be as simple as correcting the mistake.
Once you've analyzed your house, it's time to research your neighbors' homes. Zillow.com allows you to view the current and past values of other houses in your region. Take note of homes that are similar to yours in location, size and features. If your house is worth significantly more, you might be able to lower your bill by outlining your case in an appeal.
Of course, if your property tax is indeed accurate, there isn't much you can do to change it. But you can make expenses like taxes, bills and other emergencies feel lower by increasing your monthly income. Think you have to get a raise to do it? Think again. By simply lowering your debt, you reduce your monthly payments, the interest you owe and the amount of months over which you'll make payments. If your debt is out of control, bankruptcy can be the most effective way to rein it in. Find out if there's a bankruptcy plan that meets your needs when you sign up for a free one-on-one debt analysis with a professional bankruptcy attorney in Atlanta.