Property Taxes: Why It's Not Just About How Much You Pay

property tax notice
ShutterstockA new study looks at how much value U.S. residents get for the amount of property taxes they pay.
By AJ Smith

Property taxes are an additional expense homeowners must factor into their budgets. But the idea is in return they get certain services -- like public safety and public schools. A recent study released by financial technology company SmartAsset states the nearly 100,000 people living in the Georgia's Floyd County are getting the best deal on property taxes in the nation. Floyd County is near Atlanta -- the county seat of Rome is just over an hour north of Georgia's capital.

In order to figure out who is getting the most property tax value, or biggest bang for their buck, the first thing to know was how much people in each county are paying. To determine an effective property tax, the amount of money collected by the county in taxes was divided by the number of households in the%VIRTUAL-pullquote-The people who live in the counties at the top of the list are essentially getting a deal -- getting a lot for what they're paying.% county. This information was provided by the Census Bureau. Then, using FBI crime rates and school rankings relative to the state, the study ranks all counties with more than 50,000 people.

The Results -- The average county in the U.S. charges a 1.13 percent property tax rate, and has 101.3 violent crimes and 826.6 property crimes per 100,000 people. The people getting the worst tax property value also live in the Peach State. Richmond County is along the Georgia-South Carolina border and contains the city of Augusta. According to the study, people there are paying too much money in property tax for what they are getting in safety and public schools.

In addition, the state of Florida does poorly on the list, taking four of the bottom spots. Oklahoma and Arkansas do better, with two each in the top 10.

Overall, the people who live in the counties at the top of the list are essentially getting a deal -- getting a lot for what they're paying. The people who live in the counties at the bottom are the opposite -- paying too much for what they're getting. In some instances counties could be paying about the same in property taxes but seeing very different results in terms of crime and schools. For example, the people of Floyd County pay an effective tax rate of 0.89 percent and they are at the top of the list. The people in Mason County, Washington, pay an effective tax rate that is even lower, at 0.87 percent, but they are second from the bottom of the list. The difference is that in Floyd, crime is well below the national average and schools are well above average for the state. Meanwhile, in Mason schools are below average for the state and crimes are well above the national average.

Here is the full list:

Best 10 Counties for Property Tax Value
  1. 1. Floyd, Georgia
  2. 2. Sandoval, New Mexico
  3. 3. Washington, Utah
  4. 4. Bannock, Idaho
  5. 5. Cleveland, Oklahoma
  6. 6. Canadian, Oklahoma
  7. 7. Clay, Missouri
  8. 8. Benton, Arkansas
  9. 9. Sebastian, Arkansas
  10. 10. Taylor, Texas

Worst 10 Counties for Property Tax Value
  1. 1. Richmond, Georgia
  2. 2. Mason, Washington
  3. 3. Monroe, Florida
  4. 4. Manatee, Florida
  5. 5. Nassau, New York
  6. 6. Charles, Maryland
  7. 7. Clay, Florida
  8. 8. Bastrop, Texas
  9. 9. Escambia, Florida
  10. 10. Spalding, Georgia

What It Means for You -- The goal with most purchases is to get the most for the least amount of money. It's important to note in this case that people without children may not care as much about school rankings (though there is always the issue of resale to consider). But if you are thinking of moving, it might be a good idea to consider how much you will pay in property taxes and what you will get when determining the location of your next home.

If you're considering purchasing a new home, you'll want to make sure your credit is in good shape so you can qualify for the best interest rates on your mortgage. You can check two of your credit scores for free every month on
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