Entries in Real Estate Taxes (2)


Is Your Property Tax Bill Too High?

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The battered real estate market has another side effect that often goes overlooked, consumer finance and tax experts say. Millions of homeowners are unknowingly paying too much property tax.

According to the National Taxpayers Union, about 30 percent of properties in the U.S. are assessed at higher values than they are really worth.  That means their owners pay inflated property tax bills while other taxpayers in their towns reap the benefits.

Cities, counties and school districts are collecting 20 percent more in property taxes than they did in 2006, before the housing bubble burst and when home values were one-third higher than they are today, USA Today reported.

Though some of the assessments may have adjusted, the total amount of local state and property tax collection has only taken a small dip very recently, said Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union.  Sepp said that may mean the assessments have been decreasing, but property tax rates may be increasing.

"Homeowners probably haven't been getting the relief they expected when values dropped," he said.

In 2003, the New York Public Interest Research Group examined assessment accuracy of nearly 700,000 homes in New York City and found that 31 percent were incorrectly over or under-assessed, based on fair market value.

Meanwhile, only 2 percent of homeowners appeal their property taxes, according to the National Taxpayers Union.

Lisa Gerstner, staff writer with Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, said most local governments only assess property values every two or three years.  Gerstner said it's important to know how your local government assesses properties.  Sometimes homes are compared with a recently sold home.  Other cities and towns may apply a computer algorithm to adjust property values.

The Census Bureau has data about median real estate taxes paid across the country, and like in previous years, the most recent data from 2010 shows New York and New Jersey collect the highest county property taxes.

Top 15 Counties in Median Real Estate Taxes Paid, 2010:

1. Westchester County, New York: $9,003
2. Nassau County, New York: $8,711
3. Hunterdon County, New Jersey: $8,523
4. Bergen County, New Jersey: $8,489
5. Rockland County, New York: $8,268
6. Essex County, New Jersey: $8,117
7. Somerset County, New Jersey: $7,801
8. Morris County, New Jersey : $7,707
9. Passaic County, New Jersey: $7,544
10. Union County, New Jersey: $7,443
11. Putnam County, New York: $ 7,331
12. Suffolk County, New York: $7,192
13. Monmouth County, New Jersey: $6,917
14. Hudson County, New Jersey: $6,426
15. Lake County, Illinois: $6,285

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Survey: New York County Pays Highest Property Taxes in US

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Businesses in Westchester County, a suburb north of Manhattan, pay the highest property taxes in the nation and they are saying, "Enough is enough."

"Everyone assumes property tax is a homeowner issue, but it's really a business issue," said Paul Vitale, vice president of government and community relations with the Business Council of Westchester.

The organization has about 1,200 members and is lobbying to lower property taxes to keep businesses in the area.

Westchester is the county with the highest median real estate taxes in the country, at $9,044, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

According to Vitale, businesses pay 44 percent of property taxes in the state of New York.

Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, is in favor of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to cap property taxes to combat the high costs businesses and residents pay.  Cuomo's bill was approved by the New York State Senate on Jan. 31.  The bill most recently went before the state assembly.

Along with Weschester, two other counties in New York made the American Community Survey's top 10 list of highest median real estate taxes paid in 2009.  Here is the complete list:

1. Westchester, New York, $9,044
2. Nassau, New York, $8,940
3. Bergen, New Jersey, $8,708
4. Hunterdon, New Jersey, $8,671
5. Rockland, New York, $8,542
6. Essex, New Jersey, $8,245
7. Passaic, New Jersey, $7,939
8. Morris, New Jersey, $7,904
9. Union, New Jersey, $7,793
10. Somerset, New Jersey, $7,720 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio