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Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

A small, highly personalized real estate firm specializing in mountain homes and land in greater Asheville.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Falling Values and Rising Property Taxes?

A friend of a friend called recently with his latest bill for property taxes in a neighboring county, unhappy because his assessment had risen. Knowing the state of the market with declining sales and values, he was interested in gathering some data by which to file an appeal. Here's a little added information for those who might be in the same situation.

From Lenderama:
According to the National Taxpayers Association, approximately 60% of taxable property in the U.S. is over-assessed. That’s the majority, folks! The majority of you — and the majority of your clients — are paying too much in property taxes. The good news is that filing an appeal is relatively easy, and 33% of appeals are successful.
That's good to know, and a little time on Google shows that this is a very topical issue across the country lately. Intuitively, it certainly makes sense that assessed values would drop in this type of a market.

However, it seems to be a function of whatever laws are on the books in your locality. These may or may not take current market conditions into account, so that in some states or communities we see the paradox of falling values, but rising tax assessments.

A year ago The Wall Street Journal noted that the phenomenon was fuel for a rebellion among citizens, citing a record number of appeals in various areas. The article also points out some intricacies of local law that operate to the disadvantage of taxpayers in times like this.

In Indiana, state law requires that assessed values increase by the last year's rate of inflation, without apparent regard to current market values. The paradox is not unknown in Massachusetts. Let's just assume that the point about the quirks of local law has been made.

Taxpayers inclined to question their bills might start with some tips found in this 3 minute and 24 second audio clip from National Public Radio, which doesn't require much more effort than simply looking at the bill for a start. The next step would be to determine what method of valuation is being used in your community.

Local Tax Links
Madison County, NC
Buncombe County
Yancey County

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