A Quick Overview
Of Property Taxation
The taxation of citizens' wealth and property has existed for thousands of years. It was first imposed in this country approximately 350 years ago.
Amazingly, the taxation of property today follows virtually the same theories and procedures as 350 years ago. The higher the property value, the greater the tax.
We have property taxes today for the same reasons we had them then. Those first property taxes were levied upon the Colony of Massachusetts to fund local government. Property taxes today, while having their authority in state law, are administered, collected and spent at the local level. They are the primary source of funding for local governments and municipal services in this country. Property taxes are required to finance education, police, fire, transportation, recreation, local facilities and general funds.
Property taxes have their basis in the theory of "ad valorem", or according to value. Each property is taxed according to its value. On the surface this seems to be a fair and equitable system of taxation - the higher the value - the higher the tax.
It shouldn't matter what percentage of the actual value is used as long as the method of "valuation" is applied accurately and equitably. In theory, the method is fair. Unfortunately, however, anytime a calculation is applied on a "mass basis", there are bound to be some errors.
The reality is that the properties themselves and the market to which their values are linked are constantly changing. It is this never ending change that causes inequities to be created in the valuation of the properties.
It is the responsibility of individual property owners to monitor conditions that effect the value of their property and to be vigilant in making the "taxation authorities" aware of these changes, otherwise, inequities are bound to occur.
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Note: This article is not intended as legal or accounting advice.
Before making any decisions, seek the advice of an attorney and/or accountant.
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