Articles from 2009
In the late winter and spring of each year many assessors in Massachusetts send to various property owners request for information. These requests are sent out pursuant to MGL Ch. 59 section 38D which requires that they be answered within 60 days. Those requests for information are now being sent out. The requests seek income and expense information for calendar year 2008 and rent rolls as of January I, 2009. This is purportedly to assist the assessors in determining the fair market value of the property for fiscal year 2010. The assessing date for fiscal year 2010 is January I, 2009. In many communities the 2010 tax bills are sent out toward the end of 2009. In others they are sent out in the late summer or fall of 2009. The failure to provide the assessor with the information requested now may bar a taxpayer’s appeal of the fiscal year 2010 property tax bill in the future.
The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration will be publishing the tax year 2008 equalization ratios this spring. The tax year 2008 has an assessing date of April 1, 2008.The filing deadline for tax year 2008 was March 1,2009. In New Hampshire the equalization ratio is essential in determining whether or not your property is assessed properly. Many taxpayers filed tax year 2008 appeals not knowing what the equalization ratios were. When the equalization ratios are published taxpayers will have much better understanding of how strong or weak their appeals are. If your property is worth $1,000,000 and the equalization ratio is 50% the proper assessment is $500,000. If the equalization ratio is 100% the properassessment is $1,000,000. If the equalization ratio is 150% the proper assessment is $1,500,000. With recent change in the real estate market we may see significant changes in the equalization ratios.
The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration recently published the tax year 2008 equalization ratios. These ratios apply to the April 1, 2008 assessing date. The abatement applications pertaining to the April 1, 2008 assessing date were due on March 1, 2009. If you have filed an Abatement Application, the newly published equalization ratio will assist you in determining the strength of your appeal. For example, if your property has a market value of $1,000,000 and the equalization ratio in the jurisdiction is 90% the fair assessed value should be $900,000. If the equalization ratio is 110% the fair assessed value should be $1,100,000. Due to falling real estate values there are many jurisdictions in New Hampshire with equalization ratios in excess of 100%. If you wish to continue with your appeal you must file a petition with the Board of Tax and Land Appeals or in the Superior Court by September 1, 2009.
Many of the taxpayers that filed fiscal year 2009 applications for abatement have had their applications denied by the local assessors. If a taxpayer wants to continue with his appeal he must file a petition with the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board. The fee charged to file such a petition can be expensive. The filing fees are ad valorem at a rate of 10 cents per thousand of assessed valuation. Thus a property assessed for $10,000,000 has a filing fee of $1,000; a property assessed for $20,000,000 has a filing fee of $2,000, and so on. The maximum filing fee is $5,000. This fee is only for the fiscal year appealed. If the matter is not resolved it is incumbent upon the taxpayer to file again for the subsequent fiscal year and pay an additional filing fee. No other State in the country has such a filing fee structure for tax appeals.
In Maine many jurisdictions are in the process of committing their 2009 tax bills. These tax bills have an assessing date of April 1, 2009. The tax bills are usually sent out to the taxpayers within a few weeks of the commitment date. The taxpayer must file an abatement application with the local assessor within 185 days from the commitment date. The assessor has sixty days to either act on the abatement application, unless the applicant has consented in writing to further delay. If the assessor fails to act, the applicant is deemed to be denied. The applicant then has a right to further appeal to the municipal Board of Assessment Review if one has been establish by the municipality. If the municipality has not established a Board of Assessment Review, most commercial property appeals will be before the State Board of Property Tax Review.
Most jurisdictions in Rhode Island have recently sent out their 2009 property tax bills. The 2009 bills relates to an assessment date of December 31, 2008. A person aggrieved by the assessment can file an appeal with the local assessor. The Application for Appeal must be filed within ninety (90) days of the day the first tax payment is due. The assessor has forty-five (45) days to act upon the Application. If the assessor fails to act within the forty-five (45) day period the aggrieved person may file a further appeal within ninety (90) days after the forty-five (45) day period. If the assessor renders a decision within the initial forty-five (45) day period, the aggrieved person may file a further appeal no more than thirty (30) days after the assessor’s decision. Further appeals from the initial appeal with the local assessor are filed with the local Tax Board of Review.
In New Hampshire the tax year 2009 property tax bills are now being sent out. The tax year 2009 reflects the assessment as of April 1, 2009. If a person is aggrieved by the assessment he may file an Abatement Application with the local assessors by March 1, 2010. The assessors have until July 1, 2010 to act upon the abatement application. If the applicant is still aggrieved by the action or inaction of the assessors he may file a petition in the Superior Court in the county where the property is located or at the State Board of Tax and Land Appeals by September 1, 2010. Only questions of law are appealable beyond the Superior Court or Board of Tax and Land Appeals level. As a practical matter determinations of market value by the Superior Court or Board of Tax and Land Appeals are generally not appealable.
The Massachusetts fiscal year 2010 commenced on July 1, 2009. Most but not all jurisdictions in Massachusetts will be sending out their fiscal year 2010 property tax bills at the end of this year. Those tax bills are for the assessment date of January 1, 2009. Most but not all Applications for Abatement must be filed by February 1, 2010. The assessors have three (3) months from the date of filing the Application to act upon it. If the assessors fail to act upon the Application within the three (3) month period the applicant may file a petition with the state Appellate Tax Board within an additional three (3) month period. If the assessors act upon the Application for Abatement within the initial three (3) month period and the applicant is still aggrieved he may file a petition with the Appellate Tax Board within three (3) months of the assessors’ action.
Most jurisdictions in Massachusetts will be sending out their fiscal year 2010 actual property tax bills by the end of December 2009. The fiscal year 2010 pertains to the period July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. The assessing date for fiscal year 2010 is January 1, 2009. For fiscal year 2010 each parcel of property must be assessed at the fair market value as of January 1, 2009. An owner, taxpayer or person who has an interest in the property in most cases has until February 1, 2010 to file an Application for Abatement with the local Board of Assessors. In most cases all property taxes must be paid timely by the due date in order to effectuate a valid appeal. The Assessors have 3 months to act upon the Application for Abatement. If the Assessors fail to act upon the Application it is deemed to be denied.
In Rhode Island a taxpayer must file an account with the local assessor by January 31st of each year. That account must sufficiently describe the property both real and personal as of December 31st. The taxpayer must claim a value of the property and the account must be filed under oath and notarized. A taxpayer may file a “notice to bring an account” by January 31st. If that taxpayer files a timely “notice to bring an account” the taxpayer’s deadline for filing the account is extended until between March 1st and March 15th. The taxpayer must file an account even if the assessor does not send out an account form. In most cases the timely filing of a valid account is a prerequisite to a valid future property tax appeal. Many taxpayers have lost their future right of appeal for not filing an account timely or properly.
In New Hampshire most cities and towns have sent out their tax year 2009 tax bills. These bills pertain to an assessing date of April 1, 2009. In New Hampshire real estate must be valued at market value. The State of New Hampshire does not have a personal property tax. A correct property tax assessment is arrived at by multiplying the equalization ratio by the market value. The declining real estate market may cause many cities and towns to have a 2009 equalization ratio in excess of 100%. An equalization rate in excess of 100% may cause an assessment for a particular property to be more than market value. The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration will publish the equalization ratios for the various cities and towns in the spring of 2010. In the interim, the deadline for the taxpayer to file a 2009 Abatement Application with the local assessors is generally March 1, 2010.