Tame the Taxman: How to Appeal Your Property Taxes

Doing your taxes correctly is difficult enough without falling prey to misinformation. In order to get the most out of your return and make sure you don’t miss out on deductions you deserve you must inform yourself with quality information from reliable sources. Read up on these common myths that could result in incorrect filing as well as overlooked deductions.

Myth 1: Property Examiners Can Define Your Tax Percentage

Contrary to popular belief, the assessment that a property examiner performs on your home or land does not directly determine the percentage of taxes you will pay. In contrast, an assessor will actually uncover the worth of your residence, which is used a one factor of what you will pay in property taxes. The percentage itself is established by your local or state government.

Myth 2: If You Pay High Property Taxes it is Only Because of Your Property Examination

The value of your property that results from its examination is only a piece of the property tax puzzle. If your property is assessed at a high value, you may experience higher taxes. But while the assessment itself helps determine your percentage, the tax rate for your area is of greater importance to your tax amounts than the mere examination of property value. If you believe your home value has been created in error, you can file an appeal that could result in a reexamination.

Myth 3: Your State is the Main Benefiter of Your Property Tax Dollars

Although your state receives some of your property tax dollars, more of your money actually goes toward funding your area’s pinpointed government and educational programs. If your state is one that does not charge sales tax or income tax, more of your property taxes will be used to fund your state government than states who do use sales and income taxes to stay afloat.

Myth 4: Your Property Taxes Will Always Be Lower With Assessment Caps

Despite the aid that assessment caps are meant to provide to homeowners, depending on your home type and age, they could actually be detrimental to your home value. Homes that increase in value at a quickened pace are averaged with home values that grow at a slower pace, resulting in an assessment cap. Depending on whether you have a slower growing valued home or a quickly increasing value, you may or may not benefit from the cap. In fact, if your home value is crawling, your valued could be capped at a higher level due to values within the community surrounding.

Anastacio Mindiola is a lawyer and an entrepreneur. He assists home owners appeal residential property taxes in Harris and the surrounding counties.

Not Stressing Out During Tax Time

It is that time of the year again.  Yes, tax season.  This is the time of year that a lot of people get really stressed out.  There are several ways to lower these stresses.

1. The first thing that needs to be done is to gather any records and information a person might have.  Being organized in a situation like this really comes in handy to lower stress levels.  Keeping all records in one place together will help out so much.

2. Another great thing is to be prepared.   Most everyone knows that W2s and 1099s have until the last day of January to be sent out by employers.  Because of this, people need to be ready for what is about to come and look for these things.

3. Filing electronically is free sometimes and takes away the hassle of waiting around forever for the paper file to get back to them.  This is a great way to lower stress levels because it is often easy to do and is the fastest means of filing taxes.

4. Staying on task definitely helps to lower stress.  Having your mind go off in a million different directions does not help anyone, so multi-tasking in this situation is not a good thing.

5. Do not forget to consider all options.  Some of these options include a person filing themselves or going to a professional to have it done for them.  There are often free volunteer tax accountants that can help tax payers as well.  Having more than one option keeps the flow moving and keeps stress levels low.  People just have to be open minded about the different options.

6.  Starting early and finishing early when doing taxes is a great help on stress reduction.  Getting the hassle out of the way as soon as possible is a big relief and is also a big burden that seems to be lifted off of people.  A person feels so much better to just get it done and out of the way.

7.  Another great thing is to take advantage of all the helpful resources and tips that are out there for you.  The official website of the IRS is a great resource to use.  This site has helpful forms, answers, tips, and updates on any changes that a person should be aware of.  All of these things can help to make the process easier and to go more smoothly.

8. Taking breaks every once and a while is a great method of reducing stress.  These breaks should consist of standing up, stretching, and anything else that puts a mind at ease.  This helps to calm the nerves and also to allow your mind to think straight.

9. Do not forget to check over everything before the taxes are sent.  Rushing can a loss of money which makes people very stressed out.  Calculations should be double checked so that errors are not made for this very reason.

10. If problems come up, do not freak out.  Freaking out only increases stress, so this should be avoided.  If worst comes to worst, take the time to pamper yourself.  Do whatever it takes to not stress out and get the job done.

Did You Know About These Tax Changes?

By the start of 2010, President Obama proposed a number of tax changes for 2011. It was until the end of that year that eleventh hour tax changes were approved and signed into the law. While many of us are well aware of the latest celebrity break ups and hook-ups, only a few seem to know about these tax changes.

It pays to known about tax rates and any changes made regarding these taxes. It gives you a better idea of what you are going pay and how much you can save. Believe it or not, knowing about the tax rates and changes can greatly help in efficient financial planning.

In the 2011 bill, a few changes are made, a few things remain unchanged and a few temporary ones will expire in 2012. For better or for worse, these changes will affect individuals and businesses in one way or another. Let’s take a look at what these changes are.

– The lowest bracket remains 10%, this is a temporary extension till 2012. Otherwise it would have gone up to 15%. 25%, 28%, 33% and 35 % tax bracket for individuals is also temporarily extended. The current law related to these tax brackets was going to expire in 2011. If it wasn’t extended the current brackets would have gone up to 28%, 31%, 36% and 39% respectively.

    – Standard deduction rates remain largely the same. For a single taxpayer, the amount of deductions is $ 5,800. For married couple filing jointly, it is $11,600. Senior citizens will get an additional standard deduction of $ 1,150.

    – The personal exemption amount for last year was $3,650 and this year it is raised to $3,700.

    – Extensions are also made on deduction of state and local sales tax and deduction of private mortgage insurance premiums. Through 2011, state and local sales tax can be deducted instead of state and local income tax. Mortgage insurance premiums will also continue to be deducted by homeowners.

    – The Alternate Minimum Tax exemption for 2011 is $48,450 for single tax payers and $74,450 for those filling jointly. Married couple filing separately will have to pay $37,225.

    – 2011 tax changes also include a temporary repeal on Personal Exemption phase-out. This will be a good news for high-income tax payers. Personal exemptions of high-income tax payer will be reduced to adjusted gross income increases.

      – Pease limitations are also temporarily repealed. According to Pease provisions, itemized deduction is reduced by 3% at the top of the brackets for high-income tax payers.

        – Capital gains and dividends will also remain low through out the year.

          – Under the temporary tax cut on Employee payroll tax, the percentage is reduced to 4.2% from 6.2 in 2010. The rate for self employed individuals is reduced from 12.4% to 10.4%.

          – For teachers a $250 deduction is also introduced as a deduction for states sales taxes in lieu of state income tax deductions.

          This is a guest post from Albert Harris, contributing writer at CreditDonkey.com.  Avoid other costly mistakes in 2011 by reading our credit card tips.