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Property taxes

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Updated: 3/27/2003 4:09 pm
Property taxes may be assessed at either the state or local level and are usually used to support services such as public schools and libraries, fire and police services, roads, health programs, and parks. There are basically two types of property for tax purposes: real and personal. Real property generally consists of a plot of land and everything permanently attached to it. On the other hand, personal property is that which is not attached to land, such as boats, cars, tools, computers, et cetera. Also included are items that can be seen, measured, weighed, felt, or touched. Personal property can be broken down into two types: tangible and intangible. Tangible possessions are physical property, like furniture, tools, or appliances, which can be moved and used. In contrast, intangible property cannot be used in and of itself, for example, stocks, bonds, and deeds of trust. Some property may be exempt, not subject to tax, depending on the tax laws of the jurisdiction in which the taxes are assessed. However, most real and personal possessions are subject to property taxes based on the type of property classification and its value. Property value is often determined by what a typical buyer is likely to pay and may fluctuate with inflation or local economy. Once the value of possessions has been assessed, the tax rate is applied, and the taxes must be paid to the appropriate taxing authority by the date established. Payment due dates are usually set by the jurisdiction in which the taxes are to be collected, and penalties for late or non-existent payments also vary by location. For sales of real property, taxes are often collected at the time of the transaction. If you'd like more information on the assessment or payment of property taxes, consult a tax professional.

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