Interest rates are rising, what should I do?
Over the past week, DC homeowners have received their current property tax bills and tax assessments for the coming year.
To check what you owe now and in the future, go to the DC Office of Taxes and Revenue’s online search website (https://otr.cfo.dc.gov/page/real -property-tax-database-search). If prompted, create a free MyTax.DC.gov account to enter. Click on Property Assessments and you will be able to enter your square and land or address, click Search, then click on the column marked SSL to access information about your property taxes and upcoming assessments.
Since property taxes in DC are paid in arrears in semi-annual installments, we currently owe for the first half of 2022, which began October 1, 2021. The amount in the Balance column is what you or your mortgage company must pay by March 31, 2022, to avoid late fees.
If the balance is zero, your tax has been paid. If you want to view the actual bill, click the Billing History tab.
If you have an attached lot, parking spot, or storage unit that has a separate lot and spot, you should receive a separate tax bill for your home and for each additional lot, so be sure to check that for every piece of land and place you own.
Last year my loan was sold to another service company. When this happens, as is often the case during the term of your loan, you should receive a letter in the mail from your old mortgage company stating that your account is being transferred, followed by a letter from the new company. welcoming you to the family.
The problem with my transfer is that I have adjacent land that has not been taken over by the new company. As a result, this bill was not paid on time, and although it was only a $25 late fee, I had to pay the entire bill myself or it would still be unpaid, accumulating penalties until it is paid.
To complicate matters further, this resulted in an overage in my escrow account, which the company refunded to me. Also my monthly payment has been adjusted down and now as I talk to them to make sure they pay both bills my escrow account will be short and will need to be replenished before the second half of my taxes is due on September 15, 2022.
To avoid such surprises and while still on the website, click on the Assessment tab to see your proposed assessment for the 2023 tax year, which begins October 1, 2022. Start by looking at the number in the Value column devaluation.
On the right, you will also see a column titled Tax Relief, which will list any tax relief you have been granted. The items listed there will be among those that will reduce your tax assessment from that shown in the Assessment Value column to the amount shown in the Total Taxable column. Most are requested using Form ASD-100, which can be filed online.
The Tax Relief column will typically show Homestead indicating the property is your principal residence and your assessment is reduced by $78,700, saving you nearly $670 each year. With a homestead exemption, your assessment cannot increase more than 10% from what it was the year before, so if your assessment has indeed increased more, you can see Cap Credit, indicating that any value excess will be removed from your tax liability.
Two other common tax relief categories are Senior and Disabled, which cut your taxes in half. If you are at least 65 years old or disabled, own at least 50% of the property, and total household income meets the guidelines (less than $139,900 in 2020 for the 2022 tax year), you may qualify for this benefit.
If you think your 2023 assessment value is too high, you have until April 1, 2022 to appeal. The window is short, but you can apply online for a first-level assessment exam, which can then be completed in writing, by phone, or by videoconference.
You may need a copy of your most recent appraisal or help from your realtor to find comparable properties that support your position. If denied, you can further appeal to the Property Tax Appeal Board and finally to the DC Superior Court, within the time limits set by each entity.
And do not forget. If you have sold your principal residence or turned it into a rental property, you must apply to have your homestead exemption reversed, eliminating both the homestead tax savings and the cap credit; otherwise, like the ice cream man, the taxman can come and collect.
Valerie M. Blake is a licensed associate broker in DC, Maryland and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her through DCHomeQuest.com or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.