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Richard L. Sanderson's Blog

Property Assessment and Tax Information for Property Owners

By Richard L. Sanderson | Real Estate Pro in Portland, OR

How First Time Home Buyers Can Learn More About Property Taxes

Resources that Help Explain One of the Reoccurring Costs of Property Ownership: Property Taxes

Fact: You will pay property taxes every year that you own your home.  While ideally you will want to try to control all of the costs of homeownership, in reality you’ll need to start with those that result in the highest long-term savings.

One of the best resources for property owners who want to know more about property taxes is the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO).  Founded in 1934, the IAAO is a nonprofit, educational and research association.  As a professional membership organization of government assessment officials and others interested in the administration of the property tax, the IAAO encourages assessors to develop effective public relations programs that keep taxpayers informed.

According to the IAAO website they are "committed to providing information that allows taxpayers to better understand what the property tax is and how it is used.  The association supports property tax systems that are fair and equitable and that accurately reflect each taxpayer's obligation to support public services that are funded in this way.  IAAO also encourages taxpayers to fully understand their role in supporting local services such as school funding, police and fire protection, streets, libraries, and other public benefits, through the property tax."

The IAAO has developed two excellent brochures:

Understanding Your Assessment 
Provides information that explains the assessment process and the role of taxing authorities that determine the amount of property taxes that you will pay each year.

For the Property Owner Who Wants to Know
Provides a general overview of property tax systems, which includes a detailed description of how assessors estimate market value.

Each of these publications stresses the importance of contacting your local assessor for additional information or specific conditions in your community.  You can find the telephone number of your local assessor in the telephone directory blue government pages under assessments, city or county assessor, or real estate assessments.  Most local assessors have a website where you can obtain general information about the assessment process and important deadlines.  Try a search using the terms property assessments and the name of your local city or county.

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