Saturday, July 19, 2008

Relief for California Taxpayers

We have seen a pretty steep drop in property values here in California the last two years and we are starting to see a increase in foreclosures, bankruptcy, etc. But if you bought your house on the high end of things and you can still afford to stay in it but could use a little relief, there is help.

First of all, not related to buying on the high side, if you are living in your home and haven't filed a home owner's exemption form, you should do so. It will result in a $7,000 reduction in the taxable value of your home. If you are a veteran, there is also a veteran's exemption for most honorably discharged veterans as well as for spouses and/or parents of deceased veterans who were honorably discharged. Sometimes you can't get both exemptions, so contact your tax assessor's office for details!

Additionally, if you did buy your home when prices were higher, call your assessor to find out if you qualify for a reduction in your taxes based on the new, lower property value. We did that this year, signed and returned a form that the Assessor's office sent us, and received a refund of around $1700 as well as a reduction in next year's taxes.

Note: this is only a temporary reduction. When prices go back up, so do the taxes. But for now, with higher gasoline and food prices, it is a huge help!

This message only applies to property taxes in the state of California. But if you have experienced a drop in value where you live it might be worthwhile to check with your local assessment agency (or agencies if you're in Texas and some other places) and see if there is something similar available to you!

No reason to be sending more of your money to the government than you absolutely have to!

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