As most property taxation occurs on the local level, property tax information is typically maintained at the county level by a designated county department, explains the Internal Revenue Service. For example, the county tax assessor-collector in Bexar County, Texas, maintains property tax information that can be accessed online via the county assessor-collector's website.
Residents can search property tax records online by the owner's name, the property address or the account number, among other available criteria, as noted on Bexar.ActTax.com. Also available are tax rates, online payment information, details regarding interest and penalties, and the property tax calendar. It is also possible to access information regarding homestead tax exemptions.
Local governments are primarily funded through property taxation, according to the IRS. Regional services such as road construction and maintenance, fire and police services, and public education receive a significant portion of their budgets from property tax revenues.
There are three different approaches that local entities typically take to assess real estate for property tax purposes, explains the IRS. These are the cost approach, the sales comparison approach and the income approach. The cost approach estimates the value of the land and then adds the estimated value of improvements to the land, less any accrued depreciation to those improvements. The sales comparison approach averages the sales price of similar homes in the area to determine value. The appraisal of properties that produce a revenue stream, such as rentals, utilizes the income approach, and calculates property value based on a system of capitalization.