Real Estate Housing Feed

Our annual property tax protest has been filed. Not by us. We finally hired a company to take care of it. But the hubby and I and our neighbors are not the only ones concerned about property taxes. So are the government officials in charge of levying and collecting them, albeit for different reasons. Property tax problems: Real estate taxes are the primary financing source for city, county, and other local governments. Tax Foundation analysts found that in fiscal year 2020, property taxes comprised 32.2 percent of total state and local tax collections in the United States, more than any... Read more →


Elizabeth Magie portrait over her The Landlord’s Game board. (Photo: Wednesday’s Women) Rent or buy? Taxes are a part of the equation when making that crucial property decision. Taxes, or rather a specific type of tax, also was the impetus for a real-estate-based board game that morphed into (or, some would say, was appropriated by) what we now know as Monopoly. The game of property purchases and their rental rates when placed on prime gameboard landmarks has remained popular since its launch in 1933, thanks in part to hundreds of licensed spinoffs. And while Charles Darrow, an unemployed salesman in... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service IRS is expected to process more than 160 million individual and business tax returns this filing season. Through March 15, the IRS had received nearly 71.6 million individual returns. Some taxpayers probably put off filing in the hopes that the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act would be enacted by Tax Day. Several of its provisions could help both personal and business filers. Whether that will happen is still unclear, as the tax bill that cleared the House has hit a lot of speed bumps in the Senate. Other taxpayers, however, aren't that concerned... Read more →


Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash Moving to another country for a job involves a lot of changes, but one thing stays the same. Thanks to our worldwide tax system for individuals, as a U.S. citizen you remain a U.S. taxpayer, regardless of where you live. That makes you responsible for filing federal tax returns on your overseas earnings. Uncle Sam, however, does provide some tax breaks to his citizens living and working abroad. They get more time to file, with a June 15 deadline. And thanks to tax treaties, globally peripatetic taxpayers also get certain foreign earned income exclusions... Read more →


Expensive homes are subject to higher mansion taxes in 17 locales across the United States. (Photo by Daniel Barnes on Unsplash) A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about growing opposition to higher taxes on expensive real estate in Los Angeles and Chicago. So naturally, a recent Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) piece on these so-called mansion taxes caught my eye. Local mansion taxes have been around since 1982, notes ITEP local policy analyst Andrew Boardman in his article for the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. However, the momentum for them has built in recent years. Nearly all of today's... Read more →


(Photo by Kindel Media) Spring break is here. In the Austin, Texas, area that means South By Southwest. And the Austin Rodeo. Plus, in less than a month, millions will experience the last major solar eclipse for 20 years to cross North America, including some prime viewing here in parts of Texas. Yes, the Lone Star State's capital city is in the path. And all this means, in addition to worse traffic, that a lot of property owners will be making some big, and tax-free, bucks. They are or soon will be making their homes available as short-term rentals. Tax... Read more →


Update, Wednesday, March 20, 2024: The ruling that the Chicago housing ballot measure was invalid was overturned on March 6 by the Illinois First District Appellate Court, so the matter went to the city's voters on March 19. The latest count shows it failing by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin. The election board will finalize vote totals by April 9. Photo by Rachel Davis on Unsplash A person's home is the owner's castle. Some homeowners think that's how tax collectors view their properties, especially when it comes to real estate tax assessments. In some places, local officials want... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Tax season 2024 officially starts Monday, Jan. 29. Lots of taxpayers have already filled out their 1040 forms and are just waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to start processing them next week. Most of these early filers are expecting tax refunds. They also likely have relatively simple tax lives. Lucky them. Others, however, have more complicated tax and financial circumstances. These folks have more tax documents with details that must be transferred to their return forms and schedules. They also need to consider how their situations might affect their tax returns. Below is... Read more →


You're ready to file your tax return, but there's one problem. You don't have all the statements you need to complete your Form 1040 and associated schedules. Many of us, however, are just going to have to be patient for a couple more weeks. While some issuers have sent taxpayers the required statements, many don't get them out until close to, in most cases, the mandated Jan. 31 delivery date. The documents typically are snail mailed, but technology is gaining ground. Issuers of most of my annual tax statements now let me know by email the documents are ready. Then... Read more →


There's so much to see in Florence, but visitors will have to stay in hotels. This year, the popular Italian destination ended short-term residential rentals. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons) U.S. property owners are well aware that when their homes are regularly used as short-term rentals, taxes are involved. Now that financial factor is gaining more traction abroad. The short-term rental platform Airbnb agreed last week to pay 576 million euros ($628 million as of today's conversion rate) to settle a years-long dispute with Italy over unpaid rental taxes. That's less than the around 779 million euros ($849 million) in taxes... Read more →


Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash This Thanksgiving week is a big travel week for millions of Americans. Most people are heading to friends' and/or relatives' where they'll share a Turkey Day spread. Others are using the time for other, non-holiday recreational pursuits. By this time next week, they'll be back home. In most cases, they'll return to homes are in the United States. However, thousands of U.S. citizens have relocated internationally. Despite the location distances, those Americans abroad share something with domestic residents other than celebrating a traditional U.S. holiday. They still owe U.S. taxes on their income, regardless... Read more →


Property taxes are the prime source of funding for school districts across the United States. But the homeowners who pay those taxes generally think those taxes are too high. That tax concern was addressed yesterday, Nov. 7, in two states where voters made the ultimate decisions by their choices on ballot questions. And the election results were not a surprise, even where they decided against property tax relief. Coloradoans' complicated tax "no" vote: Colorado voters overwhelming rejected Proposition HH, a proposal by Democratic lawmakers to provide them property tax relief and boost school funding. But Proposition HH was not nearly... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Tuesday, Nov. 7, is election day. The hubby and I already voted. But, as expected in an election year that doesn't include national races, we are in the vast minority. With almost 18 million registered voters, an early count of early voters showed that statewide turnout was only 5.53 percent. I'm a bit surprised. I thought the property tax cut ballot initiative would have energized more of my neighbors. Texas property tax cut: The proposition was put on the ballot by the legislature in response to homeowner complaints about Texas' real estate taxes, which... Read more →


Check out some October sweet tax treats below that could help make this month less scary, at least as far as your taxes are concerned. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) October is a scary month, and not just because of Halloween. Millions of uber procrastinators face a final mid-month deadline to file their annual tax return. It's also the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year. So, in addition to picking out your All Hallows Eve costume and hiding the holiday treats so your family won't eat them all before trick-or-treaters come knocking in a few... Read more →


Photo by Nikola Knezevic on Unsplash The famous saying about all politics being local also applies to taxes, most notably property taxes. Property taxes are locally levied, usually by counties (or parishes if you're in Louisiana), meaning they vary widely across, and within, the 50 states. Local jurisdictions set the tax rate, but if real estate values increase, even a relatively low rate can mean a big tax bill on your home. Because of the complicated considerations involved in calculation property taxes, the Tax Foundation's latest analysis took a two-pronged approach. The Washington, D.C.-based tax policy nonprofit looked at median... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images The U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) shows that family-related reasons were a driver for more than a quarter, or 26.5 percent, of households between 2021 and 2022. Some of the moving vans were called to combine or create new family abodes as people who had put off wedding plans during the COVID-19 pandemic finally said "I do." In other cases, it was couples splitting their partnership and possessions, possibly due to too much time together during coronavirus lockdowns. There are tax implications when marriages begin and... Read more →


A photo of Chocolate Lab's chocolate lasagna, posted on Yelp in March by a diner. The Denver, Colorado, eatery now is closed, apparently due to delinquent taxes. Even before The Bear started streaming, it was no secret that running a restaurant is difficult. In addition to culinary responsibilities, restauranteurs must tend to zoning issues, health department inspections, and labor concerns. And, of course, there are tax matters. It's that last one that apparently has led to the closure of Denver's only chocolate-centric restaurant. I know, you wish you had made it to the Mile High City to try out Chocolate... Read more →


Swimming pool steps photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Jordan González We have new neighbors, and it's obvious why they bought the house. Family members and their friends have been in the swimming pool every day since they moved in. Good for them. I hope they enjoy the pool. I also hope they budgeted for the upkeep. Judging from the assortment of pool companies that also have been over there almost every day, the maintenance to keep it swimmable could be significant. The perpetual pool question: The added costs of being able to step out your back door and take... Read more →


An energy audit might find that adding insulation can make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. The formal inspection also could get you a tax break. audit could produce lower utility bills and a tax credit. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) In extreme weather, which happens year-round and more frequently nowadays, homeowners do their own residential energy audits. Depending on the season, we stand in hot or cold spots in our houses and try to figure out (1) why it's happening, and (2) how to remedy it. If you're finding yourself doing this more often, and... Read more →


State programs complement federal tax breaks for energy-saving commercial and residential property improvements. These pups probably would be cooler inside under the A/C instead of atop the condenser. As a general rule, your cooling system works better when you keep the outside air conditioning unit clear of everything, including pets! My phone's battery is being drained by the summer heat. No, not because I'm using it outdoors. I rarely leave my climate-controlled haven. It's being sucked of power because I'm getting an inordinate number of alerts about how freakin' hot it is in my part of Texas, as well as... Read more →