Some Home Renovations Can Raise Tax Bills

Home owners tackling a remodeling project may want to consider how their renovations could impact what they pay on their taxes. Renovations can increase a home’s assessed value, and assessed value is used to determine the property tax owners pay.

The improvements that can increase a property’s reassessment can vary considerably by location. Home owners may be wise to ask their city in advance how a certain improvement might impact their home’s assessed value, if they want to avoid surprises later on.

In general, however, additions and increasing living space tend to increase an owners’ property taxes. Also, finishing space that the owner already has, such as in the attic, garage, or basement, also tend to increase the property tax bill.

“Anything that increases the square footage of the living space is likely to increase the value of the home, and therefore the assessed value,” says Tom Shaer, deputy assessor for communications with the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

Also, large renovations – such as adding a bathroom – likely will prompt a reassessment of a home too. That’s because an “additional bathroom allows more people to live in the house,” therefore increasing its value, says Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union, a pro-taxpayer lobbying group.

Kitchen renovations can be one gray area, says Michael Kapp, public information officer for the Los Angeles County assessor’s office.

“If they’re replacing countertops and not extending them, it would probably not [trigger a reassessment],” Kapp says. “If they add additional cabinets or move a wall, for example, that would trigger reassessment,” even if the square footage does not increase.

Some owners may be surprised at what will trigger a reassessment. For example, adding a garden shed could potentially trigger a reassessment, Sepp says. Also, in-ground pools, a very large deck, or even re-grading the lot to improve its drainage could potentially increase the property tax bill too.

Generally when a remodeling permit is pulled it can trigger reassessment. If you elect to remodel without necessary permits it may cost you when you sell the home. An appraiser can identify remodeling in most situations. Difference in square footage, plumbing fixtures, electrical systems are just a few of many remodeling items that require building permits. Better to play by the rules than pay the penalties later.

Source: Home Renovations That Add Value

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