OK, so you want to go off the grid and live on the fat of the land or you may just be looking for a great place to retire. Whatever the reason most of us would like to keep our property tax bills as low as possible. No other taxes are as unfair as property taxes. Furthermore, don't think that just because you rent your place that you are off the hook..the property taxes get passed down to you too. Property taxes aren't based on your income, nor are they based on a choice to buy a product, nope...whether you can afford them or not, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, fixed income or trust-fund baby if you own property the tax man cometh!
Moreover, if you are looking to live off the grid property taxes can really be a problem. After all, how much freedom can you have if you are forced into coming up with a high monthly tax bill? Think about it. You have no electric bills, no heating bills, no food bills, no mortgage and no credit card bills. You are able to house and feed yourself without having to get a job, maybe you are retired or maybe you have a small family and are the sole provider, maybe you are collecting social security or maybe you have a small pension but if your property tax bill is $500 or more a month it can really affect your standard of living and throw a wrench into the whole idea of off the grid independence.
So what is a freedom loving, independent, off-the-grid, retiree to do? Well, first of all some states are better than others. Property taxes in the lowest states are on average less than $1,000 per year (some way less) while in the highest taxed states homeowners can pay 6 to 8 times that amount.
The following states are considered by Kiplinger.com to have the lowest property tax bills in the country:
However if you don't want to move to one of those states there is one other small glimmer of hope and it is called a property tax circuit breaker.
What is a Property Tax Circuit Breaker?
A property tax circuit breaker is a law in the state property tax code that either tops off or refunds a property owners taxes when the tax burden exceeds a percentage of the owners income. The term circuit breaker comes from the engineering term that means to shut off power before overloading the system, similarly the property tax circuit breaker shuts down taxes before they overwhelm the taxpayer, nice huh?
There are 35 states that have property tax circuit breaker provisions in their state law, 23 of them have additional requirements like age or disability. If you are not elderly or disabled you might want to focus on the 12 states including the District of Columbia that have no such requirements to locate your off-grid homestead.
Those 12 states are:
and the District of Columbia
The 15 states that have no property tax circuit breaker provisions at all are:
Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and, Alaska and Hawaii
Each state is unique in it's allocation of circuit breaker provisions. And while these 12 states (plus DC) base their provisions on income that doesn't mean that if you are elderly or disabled you wont get a bigger break. Not only that but unfortunately laws can change and with the ongoing economic depression some states may do away with the circuit breaker provision altogether. Therefore, even though property taxes may be one aspect when deciding where to locate they should not be your sole consideration for moving. There are 36 states that don't tax social security benefits, that means that there are 14 states that do. If you are depending upon social security you might want to avoid those states as well.
Those states are: Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.
All in all I hope this bit of
information helps you to make an educated decision as to where to locate your off-grid homestead, spend your retirement or just avoid giving your hard earned money to the government, Ciao!
Property Tax Help by State
- Property tax exemptions
Information on government property tax exemption programs. Assistance, including deductions and Homestead exemptions are offered for seniors and disabled on their taxes.
Wow, N. Dakota to vote on Abolishing Property Taxes in 2012
- Is It Time To Move To North Dakota? in [Market-Ticker]
MarketTicker Forums - Discussions About Investing
- Property tax bills anger Cook County homeowners | The Chicago Local - Yahoo! News
Read 'Property tax bills anger Cook County homeowners' from our blog The Chicago Local on Yahoo! News. CHICAGO (CBS) — It's sticker shock in the mail. Tax bills went out to Cook County homeowners this week and the big jump in the amount due to many h
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Additional Resources on Property Taxes
MEDIA RELEASE The Census Bureau has released new housing numbers courtesy of the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS), which includes real estate taxes paid on owner-occupied housing units. Data is ...
- Taxes by State
A comparative guide to state taxes nationwide, including income, fuel and sales taxes, retirement income taxation, senior tax exemptions, homestead exemption, property taxes, inheritance and estate taxes. Compare states to find where to retire.
- State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees, 2010-2011
Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 04, 2013:
Here here! I agree fully.
Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on April 07, 2013:
Tom Schumacher from Huntington Beach, CA on April 07, 2013:
Nice hub! Most people are unaware of how much it costs to live in their state of residence. Income taxes is another subject matter that closely corresponds to your hub. Voted up!
Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 26, 2012:
There is a map above. Utah is relatively low compared with a lot of other states.
monicamelendez from Salt Lake City on July 26, 2012:
I'm not sure how property taxes in Utah compare to how they are everywhere else but they seem super expensive!
Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on July 08, 2012:
I live in New York too and did you know that New York has the highest taxes in the country? It's terrible.
Thanks for commenting "techhound".
techhound on July 08, 2012:
Great information! I live in New York which just keeps raising taxes (but services are actually decreasing). It's pretty ridiculous to be honest. It's also amazing that in the heyday of the real estate boom, how quick the state was to increase taxes but now that we are in a bust, it's pretty much radio silence from the state. I've been told by colleagues at work that lawyers can work to lower your rate (for a fee of course) but they said it was well worth the fee. I have to look into that.
Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on May 21, 2012:
All taxation is a form of slavery. The public schools are nothing but indoctrination camps for our children.
Thanks for commenting.
tipstoretireearly from New York on May 20, 2012:
Excellent hub! I didn't mind paying high property taxes in WI because the schools were fabulous. But it's unclear what we're getting for our high property taxes here in Western NY ... the tax rate is higher, but the schools perform worse. Its a matter of getting what you pay for.
Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on October 11, 2011:
Yes, but just make sure you can get water..that's the main thing in AZ. Good luck and thanks for the fab fan mail note!
Anastasia Kingsley from Croatia, Europe on October 11, 2011:
Brie, what a great hub! I was very glad to see Arizona as one of the few low priced property tax states. Originally from California, it seems like a peaceful place to live and or invest in.
Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 16, 2011:
Well yea compared to New York or New Jersey but still Oregon's property taxes are too high IMHO.
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on August 16, 2011:
Oregon has moderate property taxes (compared to some) but they have NO state sales tax. So if you make any big purchases,that makes some difference, too.
Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 16, 2011: