RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

What Homeowners Should Know about Property Tax Appeals

May 6, 2015 12:27 am

As many homeowners being receiving their local property tax bills, those considering property tax appeals should be prepared with all the relevant information and be mindful of local rules, according to the Appraisal Institute.

The amount of property taxes due to local municipalities is typically based on the location and assessed value of the home. Homeowners also should understand that the assessed value of a property can change over time if, for example, improvements are made.

“There can be a big difference in property taxes from county to county and state to state,” says M. Lance Coyle, president of the Appraisal Institute. “Regardless of where one lives, it’s important to know how property taxes are calculated locally and to follow all related legal requirements.”

While homeowners may think they have a good idea of whether their property has been properly assessed, it’s much easier to make the case that their taxes are too high if there’s a professional appraisal to back up the argument. Homeowners should consider having an independent appraisal prepared and present the appraisal report to the assessor because appraisers are third-party experts who provide credible opinions of value. Homeowners also should be mindful of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules.

“Many homeowners recently filed tax returns with the IRS. Looking ahead to future tax filings, it’s important to understand that the agency has specific rules about the deductibility of property taxes, and consumers should with check with their tax professionals accordingly,” Coyle says.

Source: Appraisal Institute

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Ways to Jumpstart College Savings

May 5, 2015 12:24 am

When it comes to financing a college education, saving money is easier said than done. Though 90 percent of American parents believe a college education is an important investment in their child’s future, less than half (48 percent) are actively saving, according to a recently released survey by Ipsos and lender Sallie Mae.

What’s more, those who have established a college fund are saving less than they did in past years, with the average annual amount falling to just $10,040.

Increases in the cost of living and unexpected expenses were the most commonly cited reasons for saving less.

Despite these findings, habits are changing for the better. More parents saving for college are using auto-deposit services, designating a portion of each paycheck to a college savings fund, reducing personal and household spending and using cash-back rewards programs tied to college savings accounts.

According to Sallie Mae, a little preparation can mean big savings in the long run. Parents who build a plan to save for college have saved $11,102; parents who do not have plans saved just $7,611.

To boost your saving efforts, Sallie Mae recommends the following:

1. Open a savings account. Set up and designate a savings account as your college fund. Deposit gifts from friends and family, and sign up for free services that let you earn cash back to save for college.

2. Make regular contributions. Set a goal, and create a routine of adding money. Even a little bit adds up over time, and automatic deposits make saving easy.

3. Explore tax-advantaged options. Put your money to work using dedicated college savings programs like Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, prepaid state college savings plans, and 529 college savings plans.

Source: Sallie Mae

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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