Monday, July 06, 2009

Truth in Property Taxes







Here's nifty one from the NY Times.... apparently US property owners are appealing their assessments in record numbers - an interesting ripple from the housing bust.




As a result, counties and states are seeing increase in their costs, as residents start ask for some truth in property assessment and appealing their taxes... Indeed, the article does point to one individual who as been forced to sell her antiques to pay the costs.




Though its hard to feel the same sympathy for some one who's hoiuse was assessed at $1.8M, but which is listed for $1.3M (and won't sell) - you can kind of feel her pain when she explains her property taxes at $53K a year.




Well, I can't really feel her pain, but I can imagine what it's like... of course, I also would also like to feel that pain while living in her house, but I digress.




The thing about people with $1.3M homes is they generally have the motivation - and the means - to appeal these assessments. And there are more of them than there used to be. And this will mean local governments diverting more resources to deal with appeals than before.




Meanwhile, those of us with $100K assessments will have to tighten our belts while the big assessments get appealed (diverting money from government services), get re-assessed (diverting money from government services) and finally assessed down (diverting even money from government services).




Nonetheless, when I look at my own property tax assessment, and try to figure out what it is based on, I have to scratch my head. It might be time for some transparency and truth in property assessments, on both sides of the border.




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