While owners of pricey California estates are forking over $1 million or more a year in property taxes, some Georgians are paying a fraction of that.
Specifically 0.0002 percent of $1 million. Only $2 a year.
That's the bill amount that the Glynn Country Chief Appraiser sends around 45 owners of St. Simons Island lots every year.
If you've ever been to St. Simons Island, you're thinking something has got to be wrong.
The stretch of Georgia coastline is a regular fixture on various best beaches lists. What could cause a property to be valued at just $200, the level that produces a $2 annual bill?
Sunset at St. Simons Island, Georgia. Photo courtesy St. Simons Paddleboard.
The properties in question are not beachfront. They're below beach.
Yep, much of the time they're under the Atlantic Ocean.
Terry Dickson at Jacksonville.com explains:
"These lots don't overlook the ocean, they underlook the ocean. Thanks to Hurricane Dora 50 years ago, the houses, lawns and driveways washed away and the properties are underwater. The streets that served them, Postell Avenue and Beachview Drive, now have saltwater gaps. Yards once overrun with dollar weed now grow sand dollars. … Some are exposed beach at low tide, but at least the owners let people put up their umbrellas and volleyball nets and drink beer."
And the owners still pay their annual tax bills.
Ron Glisson, whose job as county appraiser requires he set some value on properties for tax purposes, decided on the $200 value for the lots even though the land is, for all practical purposes, worthless.
"Two dollars isn't going to make a difference to anyone, I don't think," he told the Florida newspaper.
Deducting property taxes: And it probably won't make a lot of difference for any of the submerged property owners when it comes to their itemized tax deductions.
Still, if you're filling out a Schedule A you should claim every deductible tax you pay, no matter how small.
That means that owners of any of these waterlogged lots who itemize other things, such as their primary residence's mortgage interest and that home's presumably higher property taxes, should go ahead and add in the two bucks.
They -- and any property-owning taxpayer -- can deduct the real estate taxes on all the properties they own.
That's right. Every single one.
While the mortgage interest deduction is limited to just two houses, all property tax bills you pay are deductible, regardless of how many properties you own. One, two, five or more.
It's just one of the many quirks of the tax code.
So if you pay two or three or more property tax bills, be sure to add those to your other deductible real estate tax amounts.
Who knows? Those extra bucks could push up your final Schedule A deductions total enough to help lower your eventual taxable income and final tax bill a bit.
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