Many people who own a home use escrow for their insurance and property taxes. That means the money for these two items is incorporated into your monthly mortgage payment and your lender takes care of paying them. That can mean you don't pay the close attention to your property taxes that you should. If your monthly mortgage payment increases it could be due to an increase in your property taxes. There are a couple of reasons why this might happen.

Your tax rate went up

One reason your property taxes might go up is that one or more of the taxing authorities raised its rate. In most jurisdictions, you are, at a minimum, paying property taxes to a school district and a city and/or county government. You might also be taxed by a community college, a roads district or a natural resources district. Any of these entities might raise their tax rate to generate more money. Sometimes you might have been able to vote on such an increase, such as in the case of a bond issue to build new schools. You can check if your tax rate changed by looking at your current tax statement and comparing it to the one from the previous year. You should have a rundown of each taxing authority, its rate and the amount collected.

Your valuation increased

Tax rate increases are not that common these days because elected officials know they are unpopular. A more common reason that your property taxes went up is that the value of your real estate increased. Most local governments reevaluate property every few years, and some may even do it as often as every other year. When they do this, they use recent sales of comparable property to estimate what your property is worth. If homes have been selling for more money in your area, then it is likely that you may see a valuation increase. That will make your property tax bill go up even if the rate stays the same. You should be able to see what your property is valued at by checking your tax statement or by checking in with your local assessor or register of deeds. If you don't agree with the valuation increase, you can challenge it, but you will need to have evidence to show the valuation change is in error, such as a recent appraisal.

Trying to keep track of your property taxes can be difficult, but it is important to be on the lookout for increases. Pay attention to your annual statement from your local country treasurer. And if you don't understand something or have questions, contact your treasurer or your local assessor to get clarification and more information.



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