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Thread: Property tax assessment question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Piercefield, NY
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    Property tax assessment question

    I bought my house in a tax auction for $21k, and at the time it was assessed at 66k. I didn't do anything about that because I knew that once I did the work to redo the house the value would be that much or more. I got permits for all the work I did, and the final inspections were done a year to a year and a half ago. I added a bedroom and a half bath, a new covered porch, and a 16x32 workshop. None of these are shown on the inventory page for the property on the county website. The building inspector and tax assessor of 40 years retired at the end of 2022, just after doing the final inspections on the house and workshop, and the new inspector issued the permit and inspected the porch in 2023. The new assessor is the new inspector's father, and both live and mostly work about 30 miles west of here.

    I get a notice each spring telling my of my assessment and when the greivance day is. Today I got one that says my assessment is going to 74k, but the inventory still has not been updated and I would have thought the assessment should be more than that. I am wondering if I should go to the town and ask if they are overlooking the changes I made, and are undercharging me. I'm not opposed to continuing to pay lower taxes, in general, but I wonder if I should ask them, and if I can be held liable for back taxes if someone wakes up someday and notices that I have been under-assessed for a while. I'll be grateful for any advice.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    You are not trained or paid to be an inspector or assessor. Let them do their job, if it benefits you with lower taxes.
    Bill D

  3. #3
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    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    Incredibly unlikely that if you've done all the work on the up and up (eg with permits) and paid them what they asked for that they can come after you later on. You've done what's required to inform them of changes ot the property. Most jurisdictions don't worry about value changes that happen between assessments. Lots of places that assessed value number bears no relationship to actual value, so you also need to know what set of rules you're operating under.

    This is something that MA does well, IMO. Properties are assessed at market value of the entire property, updated annually, with at least a drive-by inspection every three years or so. The assessed values and actual sales prices are seldom off by more than 5% suggesting the assessors are doing a pretty good job. This ensures a pretty level and fair playing field for everyone in town, no games about what is or isn't included in the assessed values, and a lower, more realistic, published tax rate.

  4. #4
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    Each state, county, city or township has their own way of doing things. Many have similar operations. My understanding of laws on the west coast have no bearing on what may be going on in New York.

    Let the people who are employed by the local tax jurisdiction do their job. If they ever ask, just show them the tax papers and permits and all and tell them you did like they told you to do.

    In my case, living in Washington with income from California taxes get strange. A professional tax preparer does the paper work. Usually California disagrees and sends back less than the preparer entered on the forms. Then a few weeks later there is a check for the rest of the amount.

    This year was interesting. There was extra income this year without federal withholding. So we had to send more to the IRS to pay the difference. A few weeks later a check came from the federal treasury as a refund for over payment. There was a printed note with it that made me think that maybe even they don't know how to fill out the tax forms they have created.

    US Department of Treasury IRS Notic 54.jpg

    Sorry for the dark image.

    This kind of notice makes me wonder what is going on. There hasn't been a note from them explaining this of yet. It has been more than a few days. The money has already been spent.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
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    Over the 41 years we have lived in this home, I have done several upgrades to it including adding a 30' x 24' standalone shop, always doing it by code and call for inspections as soon as necessary or after the project is finished. In every case, the inspectors do the inspection, and I don't know that an accessor has come by to inspect the changes until they decided they need to reaccess all homes in the city. IIIRC, we have only seen the accessor 2 or 3 times in that 41 year period.

    Let the responsible legal authority worry about it. I don't know how they could hold you responsible for their failure to act in a timely fashion. Just my opinion and worth absolutely nothing!
    Ken

    So much to learn, so little time.....

  6. #6
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    Mar 2018
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    Piercefield, NY
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    Thank you all for your advice. I will let sleeping dogs lie and not worry about it.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
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    5,506
    I had a concrete floating slab constructed last year for the large garage I am building this year. The county assessor already added $4,000 to my property value for just the slab. (I wish the slab had only cost $4,000!) The city must have reported it to the county even though my building permit has only had the footing inspection signed off to date. There is a long way to go before the final inspection is signed off.

  8. #8
    We built our house in 1980. In January, 1981, started on detached garage. First of February, tax man showed up and wanted to know why we didn't list garage, as it had to have been built before Jan1st. Showed him receipts for footing concrete dated Jan2,1981. He left with his tail tucked between his legs. We also own lot and house in font of us. Recently got our new tax value (both houses) which was north of a million. Appealed it because this lot doesn't have a well, and uses a "field road" thru lot in front of us for access. Based upon number of dry wells in neighborhood, there is only an eight percent chance of getting enough water of first try of drilling a well at a cost of about 25K dollars. Reason we use field road is this is a flag lot, and flag stem goes across a bottom that is seasonally wet. It has several 30"+ diameter pines ( over 100' tall) which would have to lifted over lowered power line, with crane sitting in next door neighbor's drive. Dropped value over quarter million

  9. #9
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    Our assessors office in Columbia Missouri really hustles to keep assessments current and revenue growing. An assessor often shows up within a week of pulling a permit. At my wife's family property in New Hampshire everyone always had to self declare and did so honestly. One of the many unfortunate backlashes of the "Free town Project" is that Grafton NH has had to start enforcing taxation and inspecting everyone's property, rather has had to hire an inspection and enforcement contractor. We have an appointment for our NH inspection this summer.

    Zachary, You have done a nice job on your improvements and did so with the appropriate permits. I would not reach out to the assessor if I were in your position.
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 05-07-2024 at 8:46 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lafayette, IN
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    Our assessment notice should arrive soon. Indiana's state Supreme Court ruled about 25 years ago that property tax assessments had to reflect real market value. So they started doing that...sort of. Zillow and my current assessment are $100k apart, and based I what I see houses selling for, Zillow is much closer to current market value.

    But, assessment is only one half of the equation. Tax rate is the other. In the previous year, my assessment had jumped about 15%, as home prices have been going up quickly in the last 5 years. However, due to a couple of the tax levies dropping, my total property tax bill went down for '22 (paid in '23) by $5, and my bill for '23 (1/2 due this week, and half in Nov.) went down by another $18. Property taxes here are handled at the municipal level (city or county), but the state has laws in place to force calculations by the municipalities so that their total levy can't change by more than some percentage each year.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  11. #11
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    Apr 2013
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    Kansas City
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    Around here, periodic assessments have only a passing resemblance to actual value, and I've never heard of updates based on inspections of improvements.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Roehl View Post
    Our assessment notice should arrive soon. Indiana's state Supreme Court ruled about 25 years ago that property tax assessments had to reflect real market value. So they started doing that...sort of. Zillow and my current assessment are $100k apart, and based I what I see houses selling for, Zillow is much closer to current market value.

    But, assessment is only one half of the equation. Tax rate is the other. In the previous year, my assessment had jumped about 15%, as home prices have been going up quickly in the last 5 years. However, due to a couple of the tax levies dropping, my total property tax bill went down for '22 (paid in '23) by $5, and my bill for '23 (1/2 due this week, and half in Nov.) went down by another $18. Property taxes here are handled at the municipal level (city or county), but the state has laws in place to force calculations by the municipalities so that their total levy can't change by more than some percentage each year.
    Got my updated assessment last Saturday (La Porte County). When that change was made to "market-value" based assessment, ours was pretty close to market appraisal. Now--25 years later, with all the caps on the annual increases--our assessment is probably only 55%-60% of market value. Like yours, the actual tax bills have been very stable for several years. On the other hand, i shudder to think how much more we've paid in sales tax due to inflation!!

  13. #13
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    Many years ago when my dad didn't like an increased assessment he called the county assessor and said if he would pay that much for the property, he could buy it and we would be moved out in 30 days.

    Not sure what happened, but the property is still in my family more than 60 years later.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  14. #14
    Here local county only sends a bill if it's over five bucks. I own three multiyear licensed trailers. Tax is collected at renewal, but because there is no renewal, in the past they charged no tax, as each had a value that wouldn't cause bill to cross five buck minimum. This year, they grouped them together to get to minimum. Total bill for all three was $5.05. So I just waited till they had sent third and final notice before paying the bill. I'm sure it cost them more than five bucks to create and send out three bills for $5.05, and process payment. Friend just got a bill in the mail from toll road for eighty three cents ($0.83.) Assuming fifty five cents for postage, cost of envelope, and paper, plus cost of processing payment, how much did the toll road lose? Not the brightest bulb in the box, IMHO.

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