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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How to Reduce Your Property Taxes

By Sandra Block





Think you're getting charged too much? Here are some simple tips to help lower your bill


JewishWorldReview.com | Home values have risen across the country, which means many homeowners' property taxes are going up, too. But if your property tax bill has increased significantly, you may have grounds for an appeal, particularly if the increase seems out of line with overall appreciation in your area.

First, look for errors that may be inflating the value of your house. You'll find a list of factors used to come up with your assessment on a property record card kept at your assessor's office. These cards typically include your property's lot number, dimensions and significant features. Search for obvious errors, such as incorrect square footage or the wrong number of bathrooms. Check your jurisdiction's Web site before trudging to the assessor's office.

Because many appraisals are done on a drive-by basis, your assessor may have overlooked defects that could lower your property value, such as a wet basement or cracked walls. If you can prove that the assessment was based on erroneous information, you may be able to get your tax bill reduced without going through the appeals process.

Check out similar properties. You don't need to interrogate your neighbors. Property tax bills are public information and are available online in many jurisdictions. Make sure, though, that you compare your home with others in your tax classification, which usually covers homes of similar size and age, says Ilyce Glink, managing editor of Equifax Finance Blog. If your assessment is considerably higher than assessments for similar homes (the more examples, the better), you have a good shot at winning an appeal.

It helps to know how your local government assesses property. Some jurisdictions base assessments on 100% of market value; others use a fractional amount, such as 60%. Don't assume you're getting a bargain if your assessment ratio is low, because it could be offset by higher rates.

Also determine how the assessor defines fair market value. Some localities base assessments on the cost of replacing your home, plus the value of the land. A certain amount is subtracted for depreciation. Others use recent sales of comparable homes in the neighborhood, and you may be able to challenge the assessment by doing your own research.

You can use real estate Web sites such as Zillow.com and Trulia.com to research sales of comparable properties. A local real estate agent may also be able to provide recent sales prices for comparable homes. Focus on prices for homes that actually sold, as opposed to listings, and look for sales that occurred within the past 60 to 90 days, says Michael Corbett, adviser to Trulia.

If the value of your 60-year-old bungalow is based on recent sales of new McMansions, you may have grounds for an appeal, says Svenja Gudell, director of economic research for Zillow. Note that the McMansions probably boosted the value of your home, even if they block your view.


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Get the breaks you deserve. Also make sure the assessor credited you with all of the property tax relief available to you. Most states offer exemptions, lower tax rates or reduced assessment ratios for a variety of taxpayers, including primary homeowners, senior citizens and veterans. Check your state's department of taxation Web site.

Most jurisdictions give you 90 days after you receive a new assessment to appeal, although some close the appeals window after 30 days, says Pete Sepp, executive vice-president for the National Taxpayers Union. Some lawyers handle property tax appeals on a contingency basis, but most homeowners can appeal on their own, Sepp says. You can find more tips on how to appeal your property taxes at www.ntu.org.

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Sandra Block is a senior associate editor at Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.



All contents copyright 2013 Kiplinger's Personal Finance Distributed by Tribune Media Services. All rights reserved.

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