- Days left
Last week five homeowners in the Madison, Wisconsin area completely lost their homes because of flood waters. Many other homes were affected by flood waters, but these were completely destroyed. The homeowners think they shouldn't have to pay their full property tax bills, but the taxing authorities say that the law requires them to pay.

Property tax bills are based upon a property's value as of January 1, regardless of the value of the property today. And although I feel badly for the homeowners who lost their houses, I understand the logic behind the laws. There has to be a uniform way of assessing taxes and making taxpayers pay accordingly.

If you've ever built a house, you know that taxpayers sometimes win this game. You might have a very low tax bill for a year because the house wasn't completed and therefore the value at the time of assessment was low. Even if your house is finished later in that year, you still pay the low tax bill because of the timing.In order to be fair, the taxing authorities have to stick with the house's value on one date. If they were to start making adjustments for people because of things that happened throughout the year, it would be a nightmare. What about the person who made major improvements to their house? Should the assessor step in halfway through the year and jack up the tax bill? What if a fire damaged your house during the year? Should your tax bill be lowered because the house is worth less due to fire damage?

You can see what an administrative problem this would cause if taxpayers could request adjustments to their tax bills throughout the year. So while I feel sorry for the people who lost their houses, it only seems fair that the rules be applied equally to them as they are to everyone else.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

How to Buy a Car

How to get the best deal and buy a car with confidence.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Employer Sponsored Health Coverage Explained

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is simpler than some people may give it credit for. The basic rule to remember is that everyone must carry Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) or pay a penalty. Employers with 50 full-time employees or more are obligated to sponsor plans for their workers to help them meet this requirement.

How to Report RSUs or Stock Grants on Your Tax Return

Restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock grants are often used by companies to reward their employees with an investment in the company rather than with cash. As the name implies, RSUs have rules as to when they can be sold. Stock grants often carry restrictions as well. How your stock grant is delivered to you, and whether or not it is vested, are the key factors when determining tax treatment.

What is a Schedule Q Form?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has two very different forms that go by the name Schedule Q. One of them is for people who participate in certain real estate investments; this is known as a Form 1066 Schedule Q. The other Schedule Q deals with employer benefit plans. It?s not something an individual taxpayer would normally have to deal with, though a small business owner might need it.

Incentive Stock Options

Some employers use Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) as a way to attract and retain employees. While ISOs can offer a valuable opportunity to participate in your company's growth and profits, there are tax implications you should be aware of. We'll help you understand ISOs and fill you in on important timetables that affect your tax liability, so you can optimize the value of your ISOs.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum