What Are Special Assessments on Property Tax?

Reducing Property Taxes What Are Special Assessments on Property Tax?

What Are Special Assessments on Property Tax? Find Out With DoNotPay

The expenses of owning a property go way over what you initially thought when you bought it. Even when you pay the mortgage, you still have to pay property taxes for the rest of your life. And when you thought that was all, the special assessment taxes appeared. So, what’s so special about special assessments?

This article will give you all the necessary information and an answer to the question—what are special assessments on property tax?

What Is a Special Assessment Property Tax?

A special assessment property tax is a tax surcharge—an expense added on top of regular property taxes that owners have to pay annually. The purpose of special assessments is to fund specific local improvements and infrastructure projects that benefit the neighborhood, such as:

  • Parks
  • Drains
  • Sidewalks
  • New roads
  • Pavements
  • Sewer lines
  • Street lights
  • Parking structures
  • Stormwater drains
  • Drinking water lines

The difference between property taxes and special assessments is that not all property owners in a municipality have to go through special assessments—only the ones living in a neighborhood that would benefit from the infrastructure projects. The neighborhood where the municipality is making public improvements is called the special assessment district.

How Do Special Assessment Property Taxes Work?

When you own a property, the local assessor’s office must estimate its value once a year or less often, depending on your county’s rules. By carrying out a property tax assessment, the assessor establishes the assessed value of your property that they later use to calculate your property tax amount.

A special assessment tax is not included in your property tax bill—it’s an amount you have to pay on top of what you’ve already been paying.

The amount of money each property owner in the special assessment district has to pay is not calculated separately—it is usually based on the assessed value of the property itself.

Does Your Property Come With the Special Assessment Property Tax?

New property owners are often unaware of the special assessments on their properties. If you’re buying a place or want to check if there’s a special assessment tax on the property you own, you can search through the public records of your county’s local assessor’s office.

In case the records are not available or you cannot find the information about the special assessment tax on your property, you should request it from the governing authorities in charge of levying special assessments.

Are Special Assessment Property Taxes Deductible?

The federal government allows property owners to deduct the cost of property taxes on federal income tax returns. Does this apply to special assessment on your taxes? Not exactly. 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) states that property taxes are deductible in case they apply equally to every property in one jurisdiction. Special assessment taxes apply only to the special assessment districts, which makes them not tax-deductible in most cases.

Special assessments can be deductible if they are used as revenue to fund repairs or maintenance.

Tips on Lowering Your Property Taxes

Since special assessments are usually not tax-deductible, you may need help with paying your property taxes. Luckily, there are other ways to lower property taxes, including:

  1. Refraining from renovations and improvements—Any improvement of your property, such as building a shed, pool, or garage, increases its value. If you’re considering a renovation or improvement, you should leave it until after the assessment
  2. Following the tax assessor during the assessment—The assessor will be less likely to make mistakes and overlook damage on your property if you’re there to point it out
  3. Examining your property tax bill—You should always inspect your tax bill thoroughly for any irregularities and inconsistencies
  4. Applying for a property tax exemption—Every state offers property tax exemptions for its citizens, based on their age, disability, or other criteria
  5. Filing a property tax appeal—If the property tax assessment is not correct or seems unfair, you should consider filing an appeal

Dealing with property taxes is a demanding task. If you need help determining whether you are eligible for an exemption or appealing a property tax assessment, sign up for DoNotPay, and we will take care of the rest!

Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment Easily With DoNotPay

With the right assistance, dealing with property taxes can be as easy as ABC! DoNotPay developed a product that helps property owners lower their taxes with zero hassle.

Here is what you should do:

  1. Access DoNotPay
  2. Open the Property Tax feature
  3. Complete our questionnaire about your property

We will create a personalized guide for you with all the information you need to handle property taxes. Our handbooks include:

  • Appeal and assessment deadlines
  • Directions on negotiating with your tax assessor
  • Instructions on gathering evidence to reduce your property’s value
  • A step-by-step guide on how to appeal your assessment
  • The list of property tax exemptions you qualify for and information on application procedures

What Are the Most Common Property Tax Exemptions?

Even if you live in one of the states with low property tax rates, paying property taxes can be financially demanding. Fortunately, every county allows eligible citizens to reduce their property taxes by applying for property tax exemptions.

You can find a brief overview of the most common exemptions in the table below:

Property Tax Exemption

Who Is Eligible?

Homestead exemptionProperty owners who are occupying it as their primary place of residence
Senior citizen exemptionCitizens who are 65 years or older and meet their state’s income eligibility requirements
Veteran exemptionVeterans who were injured or disabled while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces
Disability exemptionCitizens who are partially or permanently disabled

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