Thursday, March 26, 2009

How To Reduce Your Property Taxes in Orange County

Ah, it is tax time. Not my favorite time of year, but it is something almost all of us have to go through. If there is any silver lining in the dramatic drop in home values, it is that your property taxes decrease too.

The Orange County Assessor has a great FAQ Sheet on how to reduce your property taxes. Sales through March 31st will help determine the value of your house for tax purposes. You have until April 30, 2009 to submit an informal appeal. In July, you should get a statement from the Assessor with your home value. I generally wait until July to see what the county has come up with for my home's value. What if the county's value is lower than what I was going to request - I would not have wanted to inadvertently increased my home's tax value! After you receive your July statement of value, you have until September 15, 2009 to speak with an appraiser at the Orange County Assessor's office and convince her or him otherwise or lodge a formal appeal.

How do you determine your home's tax value? First, wait until March 31st passes - you would not want to miss a low sale recorded on March 31st, would you? Then go to Zillow or ask your Realtor to help you get three comparable sales for your tax value. Once you know what your tax value should be - you will have the knowledge necessary to put the July statement of tax value into perspective.

So, relax - you have time to figure this out. And in July, you may be pleasantly surprised!

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