Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Property Tax Relief

Posted By on August 31, 2016, 4:00 AM

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This time of year, property owners get property-tax notices from the assessor in their area, showing the potential value of said property for the owner to review and protest if necessary. Most don't realize that you can easily protest your taxes by showing an assessor a current appraisal (done for, say, a refinance of a mortgage) or via comparable sales data from a local multiple-listing service. Most folks don't pay attention and think that the determined value they receive on the assessor's computer-generated form is correct.

It's often wrong. For example, the computer has no clue that you finished your basement or added a swimming pool, or that the 1955 home is in original condition with its swanky mid-mod décor. Certainly, you can call the tax assessor in your area and tell him/her all the remodeling and additions you've done (that will raise your taxes) or call/visit to show photos and provide data as to why the property should never be taxed so high.

In Salt Lake County, the treasurer is responsible for administering little-known or seldom-used property tax relief programs. The same programs might also be available in your area as well. Salt Lake County offers relief to retired folks who have an income of $31,845 per year or less, seniors who are disabled or in extreme hardship with household income and adjusted assets that do not exceed $31,845, or those facing extreme financial hardship at any age with household income plus adjusted assets that don't exceed $31,845 (with the limit increased by $4,160 for each household member). Veterans with a service-related disability, an unmarried surviving spouse or minor-aged orphan of a deceased veteran who had a service-related disability, was killed in action or died in the line of duty also qualify, as well as someone who is legally blind in both eyes or the unmarried surviving spouse or minor-aged orphan of a deceased blind person.

In order to be granted relief in Salt Lake County, applicants have to provide tax returns, proof of income, savings and investments, retirement accounts, doctor's certifications, etc. And the county may require the homeowner meet these reviews every year because eligibility requirements can change.

Everyone has until Sept. 15 to protest their taxes, but the annual application deadline for special relief is Sept. 1, while the deadline for filing a late hardship application is Wednesday, Nov. 30. For more information, call 385-468-8000 or go to SLCO.org/Assessor.

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