What You Need to Know
Property taxes are a major source of income for local and state governments and are used to fund services including education, transportation, emergency, parks, recreation, and libraries.
Cities, counties, and school districts in a region each have the power to levy taxes against the properties within their boundaries.
Each jurisdiction calculates their tax rate separately; then, all the levies are added together to determine the total tax rate–what’s called a mill rate–for an entire region. The mill rate represents the amount per every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. Assigned mill rates are multiplied by the total taxable value of the property to determine the property taxes.
While the exact property tax rate you will pay is set by the local tax assessor, you can estimate your yearly property tax burden by choosing the state and county in which your property is located and entering the approximate Fair Market Value of your property into the calculator.
To arrive at the assessed value, an assessor first estimates the market value of your property by using one or a combination of three methods: performing a sales evaluation, the cost method, the income method. The market value is then multiplied by an assessment rate to arrive at the assessed value.
Different property types have various types of tax assessed on the land and its structures. For example, vacant land will have a significantly lower assessed value than a comparable piece of property that is improved, and as a result, it will have lower property taxes.
If there is access to public services, such as sewer, water, and gas, the land assessment might be higher. If the assessor feels that the land has the potential to be developed, it could mean a higher assessment and more taxes for the owner.
Determining property taxes vary widely from county to county so the best way to compare property taxes on a large scale is by using aggregate data. On Tax-Rates.org their data allows you to compare property taxes across states and counties by median property tax in dollars, median property tax as percentage of home value, and several other benchmarks.
With an average effective property tax rate of 0.80%, Virginia property taxes come in well below the national average of 1.08%.
If you own property in Virginia and want to estimate your tax rate, check out SmartAsset.com.
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May 19, 2020
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