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1. The amount of taxes your escrow company calculated may be incorrect, but they won't find the error for 12-18 months. This can result in a significant change in your payment. You should call the Assessor ASAP and get a tax estimate for the next year.
2. If you recently bought a home and you didn't get a tax bill on July 1 or December 1, or you didn't get an Assessment Notice in mid-February you need to call the Assessor and verify your mailing address. At the same time, verify that your Principal Residence Exemption is in place.
3. The first Assessment Notice you get in the February after buying your home is the most important. You should get a copy of your property record card from the Assessor and make sure it is accurate. If it isn't, or if you still the the Assessed Value is too high/low you should call the Assessor and make an appointment for the Board of Review.
4. Most importantly, the property tax code is complex and confusing and we all know it. I never have a problem explaining something to a taxpayer. If a question ever comes up,please call or come into the office or email me and I'll help in any way I can.
Capped Value is defined basically as last year's taxable value times the inflation rate or 5% whichever is less. (exceptions are made if you put on an addition or tear something down)
Taxable Value is what you actually pay taxes on. Taxable value is defined as the lesser of either the Capped Value or the Assessed Value.
This system in the long run means that property owners start accumulating a "discount" on their property taxes because their Taxable Value is lower than the Assessed Value. The property will continue to benefit from this discount until the property is transferred. At that point the property "Uncaps" and the Taxable Value becomes equal to the Assessed Value for the year immediately following the transfer. From that point on, the cap is replaced and a new discount begins accumulating.
(f) "General price level" means the annual average of the 12 monthly values for the United States consumer price index for all urban consumers as defined and officially reported by the United States department of labor, bureau of labor statistics.
The property must have been marketed using standard market practices for a normal amount of time;
The buyer and seller must be totally unrelated parties acting independently in their own best interest;
Both the buyer and seller must be knowledgeable about the property in question, the risks involved in the transaction and overall market conditions;
Neither the buyer or seller can have any abnormal reason to buy or sell the property. Examples of this would be: The seller's job was transferred across the county and they have to move next month or a buyer's employer requires them to locate within 1 mile of work immediately and this is the only home that has been on the market in 6 months.
The reason is that Assessors are required by law to only consider "Arms Length" transactions when determining the "Usual Selling Price" of a property. What that means is that we only consider sales where: the property is available on the open market; both the buyer and seller have complete knowledge of the property and the general market conditions; the buyer and seller are unrelated; there are no unusual influences affecting the buyer's or seller's decision.
With Foreclosures, Bank Sales and Short Sales, there is almost always an undue influence on the Seller in the form of a desperate need to sell the property, either to avoid foreclosure, or get the property off their books. (in the case of a Bank) Therefore, these sales are, by definition, NOT Arms-length transactions, and Assessors are NOT allowed to include them.
**HOWEVER!! Please understand that the impact that the current volume of these sorts of sales have on property values IS factored into home values. This happens because whatever impact these sales have on the overall market will be reflected in the sale prices of the homes that DID sell in an "Arms-Length" transaction.
**While the short sale across the street isn't added to our study, if the over-all market prices were being reduced by say, 5%, due to bank sales, then all of the "Arms-Length" sales in the area will be roughly 5% lower than normal as a result. And THOSE sales will be added to the sales study.
On a related note, while you can deny access to your property and home, the Assessor does have the right to attempt to assess your property from the public right of way or an adjoining property. This includes taking pictures of your property.