Mortgage Dictionary -> Property tax
Property tax is imposed only on those people who own property. In some areas, both real and personal property is taxed. It is often the primary source of revenue for public schools, libraries, parks and recreation and police and fire protection. Property tax is levied by the city and/or county a property owner resides in. Often a person who lives in the city is required to pay both city and county taxes. County taxes are generally paid once a year at a county tax assessor's office. City taxes are often paid in a city tax assessor's office as well. You can contact your local county and city offices in order to find the location to pay your property taxes.
Land, structures, certain equipment that is affixed to structures and improvements to the land are considered to be real property and are subject to property tax. Furnishings, fixtures, supplies, equipment and tools are personal property. A good way to determine if property is real or personal is to remember that personal property is mobile while real property is not.
County assessors are required by state law to appraise property at least once in every four years in order to determine the tax. The property is appraised at 100% of its fair market value, which is the amount that a buyer is willing to pay for it. In some areas, real property must be physically inspected every six years. If, after being appraised, your real property value changes, a notice will be sent to inform you of the change. If you feel your property has been valued in a way you do not agree with, you may contact the assessor's office to challenge it.
Check with your local tax assessor's office to find out if your property is exempt from property taxes. In some instances, senior citizens are exempt. In others, nonprofits are exempt as are disabled persons.