Property tax maps were first developed in colonial America. In those days, people paid taxes based on their acreage and this system stayed in place until the 19th century. Then, in order protect settlers, changes were made so that taxes were based on the value of the land instead. The first state to do this was Illinois. They set the standard that others followed, although each state did develop their own rules. For instance, Tennessee also made some exemptions available. All of that continued until 1908, when the National Tax Association came into force. They determined that only professionals would be allowed to assess how much taxes should be paid.

Property Assessors and Property Tax Maps:

After 1908, state governments mainly received their money from sales and income tax. However, property taxes also created some revenue. They are assessed based on the value of the land on which the building stands, and on the building itself. Assessors are responsible for property tax maps, where different properties are located so that they only have to be taxed once.

If there have been improvements to the property or the land, these must be added to the maps. New calculations are then made to make sure the appropriate tax will be paid. Exactly how these calculations are made is quite complex, but assessors will always obtain a second opinion to ensure they got it right.

Homestead Tax Exemption:

There are a number of states in which homesteads are protected through tax exemptions. Essentially, the property tax maps here ensure that not more than a certain amount of tax is paid, so long as it is “primary residence”. The exemption is removed from the maps if and when the property is sold.

Tax Penalties for Delinquents:

Those who do not pay their taxes by April are charged a delinquency penalty. What these penalties are will vary from one state to the next. Sometimes, it is around 10% of the unpaid balance. Tax default happens if money still hasn’t been paid by June. Further penalties are then levied. Eventually the property may be seized and sold.

Property Tax Certificates and Property Liens:

When someone purchases a tax certificate, a lien is placed on the house. This can only be removed once the taxes have been paid. For those who hold a tax certificate for two years, they can request an application for tax deed. This means that they can sell the property at public auction. This can only be avoided if all delinquent taxes are paid.

Affidavit to Remove Tax:

In certain states, like Massachusetts, estate tax liens are placed automatically on properties of deceased people. This generally happens if no probate is in place, so long as the gross value of the estate is lower than $1.5 million. If an estate is above this, it must file federal estate taxes. This lien can be removed via Affidavit, which must be filed by someone who possesses the property or who is an Executor. It must also include all the relevant details.