Houses stacked on top stacked coins with wooden blocks spelling out "Property Taxes" underneath.

Property Taxes: How your Attorney Can Help You

Many young couples are excited to start their life and buy a place of their very own. What many don’t realize is just how high property taxes can be, and how it can impact their finances and their plans for their home.

Luckily, there is a way to appeal property taxes with the help of a specialized tax or estate planning attorney. With their assistance, you can appeal property assessments, with the potential of lowering property taxes. While these cases don’t always turn out for the better, the attorneys at Lowthorp Richards are here to help.

What Are Property Taxes?

Property taxes are taxes levied on the value of real property, such as land and buildings. They are used to fund local government services, such as schools, roads, and libraries. The amount of property tax that a property owner pays is based on the property’s assessed value, which the local government usually determines. Property taxes are typically due annually and can be paid in installments.

The Role of an Attorney in Understanding Property Taxes

An attorney can help you understand property taxes in a number of ways. Property tax laws can be complex and vary by jurisdiction. Attorneys specializing in tax law can help clients understand the relevant laws and regulations applicable to their specific property and location. They can explain how property assessments are conducted, how tax rates are determined, and any exemptions or deductions that may apply. They can explain the different types of property taxes, how they are assessed, and how they are calculated. Attorneys can also help you appeal your property tax assessment if you believe it is too high.

How can an attorney help in property tax planning for businesses? Additionally, an attorney can help you understand the tax implications of owning property, such as the deductibility of property taxes on your federal income tax return. An experienced attorney can help you with property tax planning and represent you in court if you are facing a property tax dispute.

How Can an Attorney Help in Property Tax Planning for Businesses?

For businesses that own property, attorneys can advise on property tax matters specific to commercial real estate. This could involve issues related to property valuation, tax assessments, and exemptions available to businesses. Attorneys can assist clients in conducting due diligence when considering property acquisitions. This could involve reviewing past property tax records, assessing potential tax liabilities, and uncovering any pending tax disputes.

Transferring Property Ownership from an Individual Proprietor to a Partnership

Property tax reassessment can be a costly and time-consuming process. However, there are ways to avoid it. One way is to structure your real estate transactions in a way that does not trigger a change of ownership. For example, you can transfer property ownership to a trust or to a partnership or LLC. Another way to avoid reassessment is to take advantage of certain exemptions available under the law. Our team of experienced tax and estate planning attorneys can help you understand your options and choose the best way to protect your assets from reassessment.

We understand that property tax reassessment can be a stressful and confusing process. That’s why we’re here to help. Our team of experienced tax and estate planning attorneys can help you understand your options and choose the best way to protect your assets from reassessment.

One strategy to avoid a tax reassessment is to choose carefully when changing the form of ownership. Several regulations exist that allow for the modification of ownership structure without initiating a tax reevaluation. As an illustration, it is feasible to sidestep a tax reevaluation in specific situations by transitioning property ownership from an individual proprietor to a partnership. During such a transition, the assessor’s office typically seeks to examine the formation documents. This procedure ensures adherence to criteria enabling eligibility for the exclusion from tax reassessment.

Similarly, you transfer your primary residence between a parent and child (or vice versa) without prompting a reevaluation, irrespective of the assessed property value. In cases involving properties other than primary residences, transferring ownership between a parent and child (or vice versa) up to a lifetime exclusion of $1 million in assessed value is possible.

Preparing for the Future: How an Attorney Can Help Plan Your Property Taxes

Attorneys can help you strategically plan your financial moves to optimize tax exemptions and reductions. This could involve timing property transfers, structuring transactions, and managing your assets in ways that maximize tax benefits. For example, some properties may be eligible for different tax treatments based on their use (e.g., residential, commercial, agricultural). Attorneys can help classify your property correctly to take advantage of the appropriate exemptions or reductions.

Our attorneys are well acquainted with property tax law and regularly counsel clients on related issues. When you have holdings that benefit from a legal opinion to reduce tax liability, we are happy to answer your questions and provide legal advice. We will step up and become involved to help you shield your estate. Call the trusted attorneys at Lowthorp Richards at (805) 981-8555 or fill out our online contact form. We operate primarily in the Tri-Counties area  – Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo.

NOTE: The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice and the reader should know that no Attorney-Client relationship or privilege is formed by the posting or reading of this article which is also not intended to solicit business.

Cristian R. Arrieta, Lowthorp Richards McMillan Miller & Templeman, A Professional Corporation, 300 E. Esplanade Drive Suite 850, Oxnard, CA 93036