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Do You Qualify for Property Tax Exemptions?


Property taxes got you down? It’s worth investigating exemptions, deductions and credits in your area. Even if you don’t live in a property that came with a tax abatement, you might qualify for a property tax break through your local or state authorities. And who doesn’t want a tax break?

When people daydream about homeownership, we’re guessing property taxes don’t feature prominently in those dreams. Property taxes are a necessary price to pay for the satisfaction of a place to call your own, to build equity and to hang outrageous seasonal decorations. Fortunately, there are some property tax exemptions out there. Some of the most common property tax breaks are available to you…

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If You’re a Veteran

Veterans qualify for property tax exemptions, deductions or credits in many states. If you’re a veteran, check what benefits are available to you. You’ve earned it.

If You Have a Disability

People living with disabilities may not have to pay the full burden of their property taxes. Plus, folks who make improvements on their homes to accommodate a disability may be eligible to deduct those expenses. Check your state and local government websites to see what’s out there. A warning: When you fill out your application for an exemption, you’ll have to disclose your income. If it’s high, you may be disqualified from the property tax break.

If You’re a Senior

Many states offer property tax exemptions to seniors, particularly those who don’t have high incomes. If you’re over 65, see what exemptions are available to you at the state and local level. If you think your parents or older relatives might be in danger of falling behind on property taxes, act fast. If you don’t, the property could be at risk of tax lien foreclosure.

If Your Household Income Isn’t Too High

Many property tax exemptions are income-based. Some states use household income as its own qualifier, while others offer exemptions to taxpayers who have low incomes and another qualifier, like senior citizen status.

If You’re a Farmer

People living on agriculturally productive land may qualify for property tax breaks. Some states are more strict about this than others. In Florida, planting a coconut palm tree or grazing a cow on your property will suffice. Other states require a rigorous assessment to prove that your property’s agricultural output has tangible economic value.

Bottom Line

Paying off a home mortgage isn’t the end the road for your housing costs. Maintenance and property taxes can really add up. If money is tight, that’s all the more reason to go on the hunt for tax breaks. If you do the research and discover that you qualify for a property tax break, don’t stop there. Follow up by applying for the exemption, deduction or credit that you deserve.

Update: Have more financial questions? SmartAsset can help. So many people reached out to us looking for tax and long-term financial planning help, we started our own matching service to help you find a financial advisor. The SmartAdvisor matching tool can help you find a person to work with to meet your needs. First you’ll answer a series of questions about your situation and goals. Then the program will narrow down your options from thousands of advisors to three fiduciaries who suit your needs. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while the program does much of the hard work for you.

Photo credit: flickr