There are three species or types of property: Land, Improvements to Land (immovable manmade objects; i.e., buildings), and Personalty (movable manmade objects). Real estate, real property or realty are all terms for the combination of land and improvements. The taxing authority requires and/or performs an appraisal of the monetary value of the property, and tax is assessed in proportion to that value. Forms of property tax used vary between countries and jurisdictions.
The special assessment tax may often be confused with the property tax. These are two distinct forms of taxation: one (ad valorem tax) relies upon the fair market value of the property being taxed for justification, and the other (special assessment) relies upon a special enhancement called a "benefit" for its justification. Some exemptions are available to homwowners in certain counties. In California, both Los Angeles County and Ventura county offer a Homeowners exemption for property owners that live in the home. Call your county Assessor's office for the exemption form, and filing deadlines.
The property tax rate is often given as a percentage. It may also be expressed as a permille (amount of tax per thousand currency units of property value), which is also known as a millage rate or mill levy. (A mill is also one-thousandth of a dollar.) To calculate the property tax, the authority will multiply the assessed value of the property by the mill rate and then divide by 1,000. For example, a property with an assessed value of US$ 500,000 located in a municipality with a mill rate of 20 mills would have a property tax bill of US$ 10,000.00 per year.
According to HK Inland Revenue Ordinance IRO s5B, all property owners shall not be subject to this tax; unless the HK property owner has received a consideration, the example is rental income for the year of assessment. The property tax shall be computed on the net assessable value at the standard rate.
Year of AssessmentThe period of assessment is from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.
Net assessable valueThe formula is:
- Net assessable value = 80% of Assessable value.
- HK property tax payable = Net assessment value X Property tax standard rate
- Assessable value = Rental income + Premium + (Rental bad debt recovered - Irrecoverable rent) - Rates paid by owner.
The assessment is made up of two components—the improvement or building value, and the land or site value. In some states, personal property is also taxed. A tax assessor is a public official who determines the value of real property for the purpose of apportioning the tax levy. An appraiser may work for government or private industry and may determine the value of real property for any purpose.
Tax assessor offices maintain inventory information about improvements to real estate. They also create and maintain tax maps. This is accomplished with the help of surveyors. On tax maps, individual properties are shown and given unique parcel identifiers. The tax maps help to ensure that no properties are omitted from the tax rolls and that no properties are taxed more than once. Real property taxes are usually collected by an official other than the assessor. Examples of a proposed reform to a property tax on real estate to one that falls more heavily on the land portion is provided at the following sites as sponsored by The Henry George Foundation. Maryland, King County, Washington, Indiana, New Jersey, New York
The assessment of an individual piece of real estate may be according to one or more of the normally accepted methods of valuation (i.e. income approach, market value or replacement cost). Assessments may be given at 100 percent of value or at some lesser percentage. In most if not all assessment jurisdictions, the determination of value made by the assessor is subject to some sort of administrative or judicial review, if the appeal is instituted by the property owner.
Ad valorem (of value) property taxes are based on fair market property values of individual estates. A local tax assessor then applies an established assessment rate to the fair market value. By multiplying the tax rate x against the assessed value of the property, a tax due is calculated.
Property taxes are imposed by counties, municipalities, and school districts, where the millage rate is usually determined by county commissioners, city council members, and school board members, respectively. The taxes fund budgets for schools, police, fire stations, hospitals, garbage disposal, sewers, road and sidewalk maintenance, parks, libraries, and miscellaneous expenditures.
Relatively recently, US property tax rates increased well above similar rates in other countries, and exceeded 5% in some US states, thus becoming the main dwelling expense after construction.
Property taxes were once a major source of revenue at the state level, particularly prior to 1900, which was before states switched to relying upon income tax and sales tax as their main sources of revenue
After determining a budget at the municipal level, a legislative appropriation determines how the monies will be collected and distributed. After that, a tax authority levies the tax. An appeal is permitted. Equalization is then considered by a board of equalizers to assure fair treatment. Then a tax rate is determined by dividing the municipal budget by the assessment role of that municipality. Multiplying tax rate by the assessed value of one's property determines one's tax rate.
Some jurisdictions have both ad valorem and non-ad valorem property taxes (better known as special assessments). The latter come in the form of a fixed charge (regardless of the value of the underlying property) for items such as street lighting and storm sewer control.
In the United States, another form of property tax is the personal property tax, which can target
In some states, it is permissible to separate the real estate tax into two separate taxes—one the land value and one on the building value. (See Land Value Taxation.)
Personal property taxes can be assessed at almost any level of government, though they are perhaps most commonly assessed by states.
The market value of undeveloped real estate reflects a property's current use as well as its development potential. As a city expands, relatively cheap and undeveloped lands (such as farms, ranches, private conservation parks, etc.) increase in value as neighboring areas are developed into retail, industrial, or residential units. This raises the land value, which increases the property tax that must be paid on agricultural land, but does not increase the amount of revenue per land area available to the owner. This, along with a higher sale price, increases the incentive to rent or sell agricultural land to developers. On the other hand, a property owner who develops a parcel must thereafter pay a higher tax, based on the value of the improvements. This makes the development less attractive than it would otherwise be. Overall, these effects result in lower density development, which tends to increase sprawl.
Attempts to reduce the impact of property taxes on sprawl include:
It has been suggested that these two beliefs are not incompatible - it is possible for a tax to be progressive in general but to be regressive in relation to minority groups. However, although not direct, and not likely one-to-one, property renters are subject to property taxes as well. The owner's cost of taxation is passed on to the renter (occupant).
A consequence of this is that existing owners are reassesed as well as new owners and thus are required to pay taxes on property the value of which is determined by market forces. In an effort to relieve the frequently large tax burdens on existing owners communities have introduced exemptions.
In some states, laws provide for exemptions (typically called homestead exemptions) and/or limits on the percentage increase in tax, which limit the yearly increase in property tax so that owner-occupants are not "taxed out of their homes". Generally, these exemptions and ceilings are available only to property owners who use their property as their principal residence. Homestead exemptions generally cannot be claimed on investment properties and second homes. When a homesteaded property changes ownership, the property tax often rises sharply and the property's sale price may become the basis for new exemptions and limits available to the new owner-occupant.
Homestead exemptions increase the complexity of property tax collection and sometimes provide an easy opportunity for people who own several properties to benefit from tax credits to which they are not entitled. Since there is no national database that links home ownership with Social Security numbers, landlords sometimes gain homestead tax credits by claiming multiple properties in different states, and even their own state, as their "principal residence", while only one property is truly their residence. In 2005, several US Senators and Congressmen were found to have erroneously claimed "second homes" in the greater Washington, D.C. area as their "principal residences", giving them property tax credits to which they were not entitled.
Undeserved homestead exemption credits became so ubiquitous in the state of Maryland that a law was passed in the 2007 legislative session to require validation of principal residence status through the use of a social security number matching system. The bill passed unanimously in the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor.
The fairness of property tax collection and distribution is a hotly-debated topic. Some people feel school systems would be more uniform if the taxes were collected and distributed at a state level, thereby equalising the funding of school districts. Others are reluctant to have a higher level of government determine the rates and allocations, preferring to leave the decisions to government levels "closer to the people."
Property taxes can have a negative impact on individuals with fixed incomes such as the elderly and those who have lost their jobs. Gentrification in low income areas of a city can drive property taxes to the point where long-time residents of an area are forced to leave.
In Rhode Island efforts are being made to modify revaluation practices to preserve the major benefit of property taxation, the reliability of tax revenue, while providing for what some view as a correction of the unfair distribution of tax burdens on existing owners of property.
The Supreme Court has held that Congress can directly tax land ownership so long as the tax is apportioned among the states based upon representation/population. In an apportioned land tax, each state would have its own rate of taxation sufficient to raise its pro-rata share of the total revenue to be financed by a land tax. So, for example, if State A has 5% of the population, the State A would collect and remit to the Federal government such tax revenue that equals 5% of the revenue sought. Such an apportioned tax on land had been used on many occasions up through the Civil War.
Indirect taxes on the transfer of land are permitted without apportionment: in the past, this has taken the form of requiring revenue stamps to be affixed to deeds and mortgages, but these are no longer required by federal law. Under the Internal Revenue Code, the government realizes a substantial amount of revenue from income taxes on capital gains from the sale of land, and in estate taxes from the passage of property (including land) upon the death of its owner.
The Supreme Court has not directly ruled on the question of whether Congress may impose an unapportioned tax on the "privilege" of owning land with the "measure" of the tax being the value of the land.