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Real Estate Taxes vs. Property Taxes

    You may be hearing about real estate taxes for the first time if you are looking to buy your first home. More perplexingly, the term “property taxes” may also be used to refer to the taxes you will pay on your future home.

    The distinction between real estate taxes and property taxes can be confusing, especially when they are used interchangeably. Continue reading to learn more about real estate and property taxes, as well as how they differ from personal property taxes, another type of tax that may be unfamiliar to you. Remember that filing your taxes doesn’t have to be tough; TurboTax will ask you a few easy questions about yourself and then show you which tax deductions and credits you qualify for. If you have any issues, a TurboTax Live tax professional will assist you or complete your taxes entirely for you.

    What Are Real Estate Taxes and How Do They Work?

    Property taxes, often known as real estate taxes, are annual taxes that homeowners pay depending on their home’s assessed value. It’s vital to understand that these taxes apply to any piece of immovable land that you own, including buildings, land plots, and any commercial property you own.

    State and municipal governments receive real estate taxes, which are used for a variety of purposes, including:

    • Schools: Many schools rely on real estate taxes to fund school maintenance and teacher salaries.
    • Safety: These taxes support community safety initiatives such as the police force, EMTs, and firefighters.
    • Real estate taxes support shared outdoor places such as parks, ball fields, and nature preserves.
    • Streets: Real estate taxes are used to fund road development and upkeep.
    • Street cleaning, trash collection, and sewer management are all paid by real estate taxes in most places.
    • Public services such as libraries, animal shelters, and local health departments are funded by real estate taxes.

    How Are Real Estate Taxes Calculated?

    Even if you have many homes within a few ZIP codes of each other, real estate taxes vary substantially based on a variety of criteria. The average house worth in the area, weather events, tourism, and the performance of local companies all have an impact on the amount of real estate taxes you’ll pay. The national average real estate tax is $2,471, though the amount owed varies. It’s crucial to note that some states have property tax rates as low as 0.5 percent, while others have rates as high as 2% of the assessed value of the residence.

    City and state officials establish real estate tax rates by multiplying a home’s fair market value by a fixed percentage in that city. Larger cities, such as New York City or Los Angeles, are notorious for having higher tax rates because their residences have a higher fair market value. Keep in mind that there are options for lowering property taxes, which may be useful if you’re appealing a high assessment.

    Furthermore, the following factors might raise the expense of real estate taxes:

    • Renovations: Certain home improvements, such as finishing a basement or erecting a fence, might raise the value of your home, which can raise your real estate taxes.
    • Changes in the community: As your neighbourhood grows in popularity, the prices of available properties will most certainly rise as well. Even if you don’t make any alterations to your current home, this can increase its value.

    How Are Real Estate Taxes Paid?

    Property taxes, sometimes known as impounds, can be paid monthly with your mortgage payment or twice a year by the instalment deadline if you pay them separately of your mortgage payment.

    You may be obliged to pay your property taxes with your mortgage payment, depending on the terms of your loan. Property taxes are divided into instalments and are included in your monthly mortgage payment if this is the case. These payments are held in escrow until the property tax due date, after which they are paid by the bank or lender on your behalf.

    You may end up underpaying the property tax fee based on the existing escrow since the lender estimates the cost of the property taxes ahead of time. If this occurs, your escrow payment will be increased accordingly in the future. You will also be entitled to a refund if the lender’s estimate is too high.

    You will be able to pay your property taxes directly to your local tax office twice a year if you are not compelled to pay your property taxes with your mortgage or if you do not have a mortgage loan. For the first and second instalment payments, you’ll receive a bill in the mail with instructions on where to submit money and how much to send.

    You’ll get an IRS Form 1098 if you paid at least $600 in mortgage interest during the previous tax year, and box 10 will tell you how much you paid in property taxes.

    What Are Personal Property Taxes?

    Although personal property taxes and property taxes may appear to be the same, they are different. Personal property taxes are an annual tax on your mobile property. A boat, plane, or leisure vehicle are examples of these. This tax may be applied on furniture, tools, and equipment if you own a business.

    Personal property taxes differ from real estate taxes in appearance. The charge you pay for your annual automobile registration, for example, is a sort of personal property tax. Furthermore, some states charge a fixed amount for all categories of personal property, while others charge varied rates for different types of personal property.

    These taxes are usually paid at the state or local level, however some places do not require personal property taxes to be paid at all.

    How Do Personal Property Taxes Work?

    Personal property taxes are computed as a proportion of an item’s worth, similar to real estate taxes. Unlike real estate taxes, this value (and thus the tax) tends to decline over time as the perceived value declines.

    These taxes are usually self-reported on your tax returns. Furthermore, most municipalities will exclude a certain amount of property from taxation. For example, if your city exempts the first $60,000 in personal property but you possess $80,000, you’ll have to pay taxes on the remaining $20,000 in personal property.

    Property taxes vs. real estate taxes

    It can be difficult to distinguish between these two forms of taxes, partly because the terms “real estate taxes” and “property taxes” are frequently interchanged. However, there is a way to distinguish between the two:

    • Immovable assets are subject to real estate taxes (also known as property taxes).
    • Personal property taxes are levied on assets that are movable.

    Another way to think about it is that real estate tax (also known as property tax) is based solely on real estate. Personal property taxes are based on personal property, which is anything that is not real estate that you own.

    When Does Real Estate Tax Have To Be Paid?

    While real estate taxes are payable once a year, the exact date depends on the state and even the municipal. As previously indicated, if you have a mortgage that requires you to pay your real estate taxes with your mortgage payment, or have them impounded in your mortgage payment, the lending firm will transmit the taxes you paid held in escrow to the appropriate tax body. You will be billed accordingly whether you will be paying through your city or town.

    Property taxes are usually paid in two instalments, the first of which is due on November 1st and the second of which is due on February 1st. For further information on tax deadlines, go to the website of your city or town.

    When Does Personal Property Tax Have To Be Paid?

    Personal property taxes are normally assessed and due on January 1st of each year. Keep in mind that when you buy some personal properties, you may need to register them with your local tax office, either online or in person, to specify the property’s specifics.

    Mobile Homes: The Special Circumstance

    If knowing the distinctions between the two tax kinds wasn’t difficult enough, there’s another factor to consider: mobile homes. Personal property tax applies to anything that is moveable, such as a car, boat, or trailer, as well as a mobile home.

    If, on the other hand, the mobile home’s wheels are removed and it is permanently anchored to a foundation, and you own the land beneath it, it is deemed a permanent, immovable property and thus liable to real estate taxes.

    Understanding the distinctions between real estate taxes and property taxes can be difficult, but hopefully this information has shed some light on the subject. Remember that whether you own a home, land, or company, you’ll have to pay real estate taxes every year, as well as personal property taxes on moveable items like RVs, vehicles, and boats, depending on where you live.

    Learn more: How to keep up to date with accounting standards