Having a swimming pool in your backyard can be a great way to relieve the stress of your working day. There’s nothing like coming home from a long day at work, changing into your swimming costume, and going for a dip in the pool.
It’s a worthwhile investment if you don’t currently own one…or so you think.
If you’re a homeowner, you’ll know all about paying property taxes. But did you know adding features to your home can actually increase the amount of property tax you have to pay each year?
A swimming pool can come under this property tax bill. And this might not be a problem for you, which is great! However, if you’re someone who wants to avoid an increase in taxes, you should consider whether that swimming pool is really worth it.
Luckily, we’ve put together this handy guide going over the ins and outs of property taxes, and have even included information on the types of swimming pools that will and will not increase your bills.
So read on to refresh your memory on property taxes, and figure out what pool is best for you and for your home!
What is Property Tax?
Property tax is a compulsory contribution to state revenue levied on immovable property, such as buildings or land. Sometimes, it is levied on tangible, moveable property. This can include, but is not limited to, vehicles and equipment.
Property taxes are the primary way of funding local governments, which in turn helps to fund roads, schools, and other public services.
How are Property Taxes Calculated?
Property taxes are calculated annually, and generally increases every year. The amount you have to pay in property taxes depends on a variety of factors. Property taxes are assessed by the city you live in, and will vary from state to state.
The formula for calculating property tax is:
Property tax = assessed property value x mill levy
Usually, an assessor will visit your home to determine its assessed value. Property value determines the worth of a property, and the higher the value, the more it will sell for, and the more property tax you will have to pay.
An assessor will give you an estimated property value based on a few things:
- The size of your land.
- The size of your home on top of that land.
- How it compares sales-wise to other buildings in the area.
- Any amenities in the area – like a school, or a grocery store.
- How much your home would cost to rent.
- What year your home was built: newer homes typically have a higher property tax.
- How much it would cost to replace your home.
The second part of calculating property tax is the mill levy. Mill levy is a percentage calculated by determining how much revenue each local government needs from taxes to fund public services.
How Do I Pay My Property Taxes?
You can pay property taxes in two ways.
The first, is a yearly bill where you pay your property tax in a big bulk. The second is paying in small installments as part of your monthly mortgage payments.
Does an Above-Ground Pool Increase Property Tax?
In short, no. Above-ground pools will not increase the amount you have to pay in property taxes because they do not add any value to the property.
An above-ground swimming pool requires no construction and can simply be built on top of your land. It can be dismantled at any time and moved to different places in your backyard, and can be taken with you if you move to a new home.
Property taxes will increase if you add a permanent fixture to your home that increases the value. Since an above-ground swimming pool is not a permanent fixture, it adds no value to your home and therefore will not increase property taxes.
What About An In-Ground Pool?
Unlike an above-ground swimming pool, an in-ground pool is a permanent fixture to the home. In-ground pools are a well-sought out feature for those looking to move or get on the property ladder, and therefore they are considered to be a ‘home improvement’, and add value to a property.
So, if you choose to build an in-ground pool as part of your house, the value of your house will increase, and your property taxes will increase, too.
What About Semi In-Ground Pools?
Now, we know what you’re thinking. A semi in-ground pool might be a way around increasing your property taxes, after all, it’s only half in the ground, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case!
You’re still adding a permanent fixture to your home, and the semi in-ground pool will still require construction. And as we know, permanent fixtures will increase property value, and therefore raise property taxes.
Are There Any Exemptions To Paying Property Taxes?
Yes. There are a few groups and communities exempt from paying property tax, such as military veterans and senior citizens.
Sometimes, you will qualify for a discounted property tax bill. For example, if you own a homestead, you will not have to pay tax on a portion of the assessed home value.
Please note: Often, you will not be told you qualify for an exemption. It is advisable that you check out tax agencies in your local area to see if there are potential tax relief options for you. You must apply for any property tax exemption.
So, What Swimming Pool Should You Get?
That’s totally your choice! If you want to increase the value of your property, and you’re okay with your property taxes rising, then go ahead and invest in that in-ground or semi-in ground pool and enjoy endless days of swimming!
If you’re someone who would rather avoid a large increase in taxes, then it would be worth investing in an above-ground pool, where fun swim days still await!
Our Final Thoughts
Property taxes vary from area to area, and are assessed annually. They are calculated based on the assessed value of your property multiplied by the mill levy of your area.
Typically, your property taxes will increase every year, but they can also increase when your property value increases.
A way to increase your property value is by adding a permanent fixture to your home, normally one that is highly sought after. This means in-ground, and semi in-ground swimming pools will increase the amount of property tax you need to pay.
However, adding an above-ground pool to your backyard does not increase property taxes. This is because above-ground pools can be dismantled and moved from home to home, so they do not add any value to the property you currently reside in.