Depending on your ZIP Code, property taxes can either cause a substantial dent in your budget or barely amount to an afterthought. For some unlucky residents of New York and New Jersey counties, it’s the former, with property taxes lingering well above the national average.
According to a recent Zillow study, the average property tax bill for a single-family home in 2012 came to roughly $2,800—about 1.4% of the home’s value. In contrast, homeowners in Allegany County, N.Y., are paying an average of 3.8% of their home’s value, the highest property tax burden in the country. However, due to lower home values, these residents are only shelling out about $2,500 a year.
Residents of Westchester County, N.Y. (which includes prosperous suburbs like Rye and Armonk) are paying a smaller percentage of their home values at 2.5%—but don’t count them among the lucky ones. Their average property tax bill? Nearly $15,000.
What You Can Do to Lower Your Bill
While it can take a lot of effort, you may be able to fight your high property tax bill with an appeal. Most jurisdictions allow up to 90 days after you receive your assessment to make an appeal, and up to 40% of those who appeal do receive some form of tax relief, Kiplinger reports.
Check your state’s website for potential tax breaks available to residents with a lower income or with senior citizen or veteran status. You can also double-check your home’s assessment record card for any potential mistakes, which may have inflated your tax rate—for example, an overstated number of bedrooms or miscalculated square footage.
Or you can move to Arkansas, where Randolph County residents paid an average of just $149 in property taxes in 2012.