It's no secret that New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation. On average, a Jersey homeowner pays $8,400 a year compared to the nationwide average of $3,400. But do you know how your property taxes are allocated and what's at work when you pay your tax bill?

The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants has teamed up with New Jersey Realtors and the Association of Municipal Assessors to publish The New Jersey Homeowner's Guide to Property Taxes.

CEO and Executive Director of the New Jersey Society of CPAs Ralph Albert Thomas said it's a guide to what goes into the property tax calculation and how it's done.

The 16-page guide talks about the assessment, when the payment is due and the billing. It explains how property taxes are calculated based on the value of a property.

Your tax bill starts with a certified municipal assessor establishing the value of your property.

After the municipality, school district and county adopt their budgets that determine how much money they will need to raised through taxes, the municipality determines a tax rate.

The tax collector uses the rate to determine what each property owners owes for each quarter of the year. The more a property is worth, the more it will owe.

After taxes are collected, the appropriate amount of funds are split among the taxing entities, such as the school district, county or fire district.

Thomas says the guide stemmed from when the CPAs put together a task force to think of ways to reduce property taxes. Thomas said many of its members didn't even understand it.

He said if the citizens are more educated about how property taxes are done, then perhaps they can appreciate what the recommendations that may come out about how to reduce property taxes.

You can find the guide online at www.njpropertytaxguide.com.

MORE ON TAXES:

Towns with the biggest tax hikes and tax cuts in each county

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