- Days left
Real estate taxes hit many taxpayers hard. The basis for your real estate taxes is the value of your home. A home with a higher value means higher property taxes.

Sounds simple, right? Well only if your property is assigned the correct value. Municipalities typically use some variant of "market value" when assigning a value to your home. Sometimes it's supposed to reflect actual market value. Other times it is supposed to be a certain percentage of market value.

As real estate values were rising, so were real estate tax assessments and the associated property taxes due. Now that the value of real estate has dropped dramatically in some areas, the assessments on properties are often no longer accurate. That means taxpayers are paying too much in property taxes.

Check with your municipality on when you can challenge your assessment. When you are next able to, file the appropriate paperwork. Be prepared, however, to prove to the assessor's office that your real estate has a lower value. You can do that by comparing it to similar properties that have recently sold in your neighborhood, the assessments of like properties near yours, or a recent appraisal of your property.

Getting a proper value assigned to your house can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. A little homework on property values can go a long way toward putting more money in your pocket.

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

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

How Financial Planners go Grocery Shopping

Learn to shop smart and save.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

A Tax Filing Factsheet for eBay Sellers

You can find almost anything for sale on eBay, from a piece of fine art to clippings of Justin Bieber?s hair. So it's no surprise that the IRS doesn't view all sellers alike in the online marketplace. You may not have to pay tax at all if you are essentially hosting an online garage sale, but if you run your eBay account more like a business, you should be reporting your sales to the IRS.

Tax Tips for Handymen and Odd Jobs

If you work as a handyman or do odd jobs around town for money, you are operating a business in the eyes of the IRS. Since you own your own business, you're likely a self-employed sole proprietor. This means you'll have lots of potential tax deductions to investigate.

Identity Theft: 7 Steps to Reclaiming Your Identity and Keeping it Safe

As more personal information continues to be stored online, the risk of identity theft also increases. In 2014 alone, the Bureau of Justice reported that 17.6 million U.S. residents experienced identity theft. If someone uses your personal data pretending to be you, it's a serious crime. With quick, decisive action, you can help discover the fraud, stop further damage and reclaim your identity. Here are six steps to get you on your way.

Need More Tax Time? File a Tax Extension

If you need more time to complete your taxes, file a tax extension, but don't miss out on your chance for a tax refund by not filing at all. Learn more about tax extensions from this 2012 infographic!