A Look at Property Taxes in Kansas
Did you know that the property tax is widely considered to be the most reviled type of tax levied upon Americans? Aside from the tendency of property taxes to rise year after year, this is likely because many homeowners feel that their homes have an excessively high appraised value. Fortunately, there are options available to homeowners and those who own commercial, industrial, agricultural, and mineral properties. A tax lawyer near Wichita can help Kansas property owners by filing a property tax appeal. As your property attorney is likely to inform you, almost half of all property tax appeals result in a reduction.
Appraisals of Properties
Your property attorney can answer any questions you have about the appraisal of your property. In Kansas, the county appraiser is required to view the exterior of all properties in the county every six years. The purpose is to determine the market value of your home . If your home’s appraised value goes up, you could be responsible for paying more in property taxes, depending on the budgetary needs of your municipality.
Factors that Determine Market Value
Your tax lawyer can help you understand the various factors that an appraiser considers when determining market value. These factors include the age, location, condition, quality, size, and style of the property. Then, the appraiser uses at least one method to determine market value. The first method is by comparing sales of properties that are similar to yours. The second is by considering the age of your property and what it would cost to replace it. The third applies to income-producing properties. It involves considering income from rent.
Methods of Protesting Home Values
If you feel that the appraised value of your home is too high and that you’re paying too much in property taxes, your tax attorney can file an appeal on your behalf. Within 30 days of receiving the notice of your property’s appraised value, your attorney can submit a protest to the county appraiser’s office. Or, your attorney may help you fill out a “payment under protest” form when you pay your property taxes.
Asset Division During Divorce
The division of assets during a divorce is often among the most contentious aspects of this particular legal proceeding. It’s highly advisable to contact a family lawyer in Wichita, rather than trying to handle the divorce yourself. An expert in family law can help you understand your state’s specific laws concerning asset division. Often, ex-spouses will retain ownership of items or assets, including inheritances, which they owned independently prior to marriage.
As you’ll learn by watching this video, a family lawyer will advise you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to create a comprehensive list of all possessions and assets, including savings accounts, CDs, and tangible items. When ownership of an item is in contention, the family lawyer can negotiate with the other party to reach a resolution.
Parties that May Be Exempt from Property Taxes
If you’re like many property owners, you may already think that you’re paying too much in property taxesâand you could be right. In fact, a property tax lawyer in Wichita may be able to help you save a bundle on your property taxes by applying for various exemptions. State and municipal law varies regarding property tax exemptions; a tax lawyer can determine which exemptions you may qualify for.
Many homeowners qualify for the homestead exemption. The regulations regarding this exemption may require you to re-apply each year. The qualifying criteria can vary widely; some states base eligibility requirements on age or income level. If you qualify for the homestead exemption, you won’t need to pay property taxes on part of your home’s value. For example, if you own a $250,000 home, $100,000 of that may be exempt. This means you’ll only need to pay property taxes on $150,000 of the home.
Be sure to let your property attorney know if you’re a military veteran. Veterans often qualify for property tax exemptions if they were honorably discharged, served during times of war, and consider the property to be their primary residence. However, your area may impose additional restrictions, such as those involving the length of service and whether or not you sustained a disabling injury while in the service.
Senior Citizens and Disabled Individuals
Many states provide property tax exemptions to individuals simply because they’ve had a certain number of birthdays. For example, Kansas has a Safe Senior property tax exemption, which provides tax relief to homeowners who are at least 65 years old and meet income qualifications. Some homeowners may also be granted relief if they can prove that they have a disability. For example, a property attorney might use an individual’s eligibility for Social Security disability benefits as proof of qualification.
Even if you’re not a senior citizen, a disabled individual, or a military veteran, you may still qualify for a property tax exemption if you make certain upgrades to your home. Home improvement exemptions vary considerably; your property attorney can find programs that apply to your area. For example, you may gain property tax relief simply by improving the energy efficiency of your home with solar panels or other upgrades.
Protecting Your Business During Divorce
Individuals who own their own businesses tend to take a great deal of pride in them and to invest countless hours in their growth. Unfortunately, your ex-spouse could take a share in a divorce. As any family lawyer will advise you, getting a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage is the best way to protect your business in the event of a future divorce. A family attorney located in Wichita can draft an ironclad prenuptial agreement, which can specify that your business and all of its assets are not to be considered shared marital property.
In the event that you’re already married and you did not consult a family lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement, you do still have options for protecting your business during a divorce. Contact a family law expert with experience drafting postnuptial agreements. These documents are much like prenuptial agreements, except that they are entered into after marriage. The courts do not give postnuptial agreements as much weight as prenups; however, having one can improve your chances of retaining the assets of your business.
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