Stop – Don’t File Away Your Property Tax Assessment Just Yet
January 24, 2019 @ 4:30 PM by: Heather Francis
Stop – Don’t File Away Your Property Tax Assessment Just Yet!
We got our 2019 Property Tax Assessment notice in the mail - did you get yours? Before you file your notice away, check if your tax assessed value on your property has changed.
Did your tax assessed value on your property go up? If it has, your annual property tax payment will probably increase. The good news though is that you could tap more home equity to pay down consumer debt or cover exceptional expenses, such as that long dreamed about renovation or landscaping project. If you want to explore your mortgage options, just give us a call.
If your tax assessed property value went down, you may be paying less property taxes. However, you may want to consider why your property devalued. Is it the general real estate economy, your local neighbourhood market, or the physical state of your property?
Consider the following checklist and choose whether you want to just pay your bill in July or adjust your payment amount, payment frequency or payment method.
Do you want to dispute your property tax assessed value? If so, follow the instructions on your notice and be aware that the clock is ticking to meet appeal deadlines, such as January 31. People write books about how to lower your property’s tax assessed value; check out what’s available through your online bookstore. Otherwise, your government website is a good place to start to explore property tax exemption programs and services.
Apply for all the homeowner grants for which you are eligible according to your location, age and special exemptions. Often you can apply online for such grants through your local property tax assessment website. Pay attention to application deadlines. If you apply late, you can be charged a penalty fee on the grant amount in addition to your tax amount due.
Many people choose not to pay their property taxes in one lump sum in July. If you do, you may want to set money aside in a separate account, or cashable investment, for when that hefty bill comes due. Otherwise, check your municipal website for more manageable payment options. Many municipalities will offer pre-authorized monthly withdrawal services from your bank account or pre-authorized charges to your credit card. As well, the municipality will automatically adjust your year-to-year tax payments.
Additional charges may apply according to your area. Be aware that some municipalities charge for metered water, sewer, recycling and other utility fees on top of property assessed taxes.
Before paying your property taxes, check that they are not already wrapped into your mortgage payments. That tax payment method could have been a lender’s condition that you previously agreed to when your mortgage funded.
Normally, we do not recommend having your taxes paid as part of your regular mortgage payments.
This practise can cause problems if you neglect to claim your homeowner grant or neglect to inform your lender that you are entitled to a tax deduction. As well, your lender will not automatically adjust your payments to reflect whether your municipal taxes due went up or down. You will need to confirm amounts due with your municipal property tax office and then inform your lender to adjust your payments. The onus is on you, not your lender, to fully pay your property taxes.
Don’t be late paying your property taxes!
The late fee payment penalties (e.g., 5% on the outstanding balance) often start at midnight on the due date. Additional penalties may compound at later dates and non-payment could eventually lead to court action and foreclosure on your property. If you foresee any problems paying your property taxes, apply right away to a government tax deferment program. Eligibility is not guaranteed but it’s worth trying. If approved, the government will pay your taxes on your behalf and hold a lien on your property until the full balance owing is paid. After two years of non-payment of taxes, the municipality may have the right to sell your home for back taxes. Financial institutions will often step in and buy the property, pay the municipal taxes, and then resell the property to recoup any outstanding mortgage.
If you have questions about how your property tax assessment could affect your mortgage financing, call us and we can discuss your options.