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New Hampshire Property Tax Bills Are Soon To Issue

Most communities in New Hampshire will be sending out their 2014 property tax bills this October and November. These tax bills have an assessing date of April 1, 2014. The property tax assessment of taxable real estate should be the fee simple market value of the property as of April 1, 2014, multiplied by the jurisdiction’s median assessment ratio. If your property is assessed in excess of that you may have grounds for a property tax appeal. In general Abatement Applications must be filed with the local assessors by March 1, 2015. If you are aggrieved by the action or inaction of the local assessors you may file a petition with the State Board of Tax and Land Appeals or the Superior Court in the County where the property is located. There you will be afforded a full hearing on the merits where the rules of evidence will apply.

In Massachusetts the Appellate Tax Board Determines Value

In the property tax appeal the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board is the forum where you are granted a hearing to determine the value of your property. The Appellate Tax Board consists of five Members one of which also serves as the Chairman. The Members of the Appellate Tax Board are appointed by the Governor. Only questions of law and not questions of fact may be appealed beyond the Appellate Tax Board. The issue of value is a question of fact and therefore the Appellate Tax Board is the final place where questions of value are answered. The Appellate Tax Board has a wide degree of discretion in determining value. It may pick and choose what evidence it wants to accept and what evidence it wants to reject regardless of who presented the evidence. The Appellate Tax Board has a tremendous amount of power over your property tax appeal.

Rhode Island Jurisdictions Sending Out 2014 Property Tax Bills

Most Communities in Rhode Island have sent out their 2014 property tax bills. These tax bills have an assessing date of December 31, 2013. The assessed value is generally established in the year of a revaluation and is carried for each tax year until the next revaluation. Therefore, the issue on an appeal is the value of the property on December 31 of the revaluation year and not December 31, 2013 unless December 31, 2013 was a revaluation year in the community where the property is located. If a party is aggrieved he has ninety days from the date that the first payment is due without interest to file an appeal with the local assessor. The assessor has forty five days to review the appeal, render a decision and notify the taxpayer of the decision. If the taxpayer is still aggrieved he may file a further appeal with the local Board of Assessment Review.

Maine Property Tax Bills To Be Committed

Most Communities in Maine will be sending out their property tax bills this summer. These property tax bills assess properties as of April 1, 2014. If a taxpayer wishes to appeal he may file an application with the local assessor within 185 days of the commitment date. The commitment date is usually within a few weeks before the property tax bills are sent out. The case for an abatement of property taxes can be proved two ways either by proving that the property is assessed at greater than fair market value or that the property is assessed inequitably in that it is assessed greater than comparable properties. This appears easier than it actually is as the burden of proof in Maine for property tax appeals is legally and practically very high. The law provides that the taxpayer must prove that the tax assessment is manifestly wrong in order to justify an abatement of property taxes.

Massachusetts Personal Property Tax Rates Are Questionable

The Massachusetts Fiscal Year 2015 will commence on July 1, 2014 and run until June 30, 2015. The Fiscal Year produces local property tax bills with an assessing date of January 1, 2014. Many communities have adopted different tax rates for different classes of property. When communities opt for these varied tax rates, commercial class and industrial class properties generally have higher tax rates than residential class properties. Some communities assign personal property to the higher tax rates that are applied to commercial class and industrial class properties. This may not be constitutional as the Constitution of the Commonwealth specifically provides for these varied tax rates for real property and is silent as to varied tax rates for personal property. One should be aware of their personal property tax assessment and consider appealing the tax bill if the higher tax rate has been applied to the assessed value.

Failure To Answer the Assessor’s Request For Information Can Have Consequences

Most cities and towns in Massachusetts will not send out their Fiscal Year 2015 property tax bills until the end of Calendar Year 2014. In most cases the financial and physical condition of the property as of January 1, 2014 is pertinent in valuing the property for Fiscal Year 2015. Prior to sending out property tax bills Assessors are increasingly sending out requests for information to taxpayers. These requests pose questions regarding the physical and financial condition of their property as of January 1, 2014. This usually includes a request for income and expense information for the twelve months leading up to January 1, 2014. The response to these questions is generally due within sixty days. The failure to respond to these questions will likely bar the right to a Fiscal Year 2015 property tax appeal. In addition the Assessor may levy a $250 penalty for failing to answer the request for information.

New Hampshire To Publish Illuminating Ratio Lists

The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration will be publishing its Tax Year 2013 ratio list within the next few months. These lists are very important as they contain the median assessment ratio for each community as of April 1, 2013. The filing deadline for Tax Year 2013 was generally March 1, 2014. Therefore in many cases Applicants could not be fully aware of the merits of their Application at the time of filing. To a certain extent Applicants are sometimes navigating on “a moonless landscape at midnight” until the ratio lists are made public. In New Hampshire the market value of real estate must be multiplied by the assessment ratio in order to arrive at a proper assessed value. This assessment ratio can be more than 100% or less than 100% depending upon market conditions. Thus a proper assessed value can be more or less than market value.

File an Account To Protect Your Right Of Appeal

Now is the time for Rhode Island taxpayers to preserve their right of appeal for Tax Year 2014 by filing an account with the local Assessor. In most jurisdictions the Tax Year 2014 tax bill will be sent out during the summer of 2014. The Tax Year 2014 tax bill has a valuation or assessing date of December 31, 2013. In most cases the filing of a valid account by January 31, 2014 is a prerequisite to a valid appeal. The account must describe the property, claim a value of the property, and be signed under oath and notarized. Occasionally the Assessors do not send out account forms. It is incumbent upon the taxpayer to seek out a form and properly complete and file it. It is possible for a taxpayer to construct his own account form but it must include all the required information and be signed under oath and notarized.

For Most Massachusetts Jurisdictions Now Is The Time Of File

Most jurisdictions in Massachusetts will be sending out their fiscal year 2014 actual property tax bills by the end of December 2013. The fiscal year 2014 pertains to the fiscal period July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. The assessing date for fiscal year 2014 is January 1, 2013. For fiscal year 2014 each parcel of property must be assessed at the fair market value as of January 1, 2013. An owner, taxpayer or person who has an interest in the property in most cases has until February 1, 2014 to file an Application for Abatement with the local Board of Assessors. In most cases all property taxes must be paid timely without incurring interest in order to effectuate a valid appeal. The Assessors have three months to act upon the Application for Abatement. If the Assessors fail to act upon the Application within three months the Application is deemed to be denied.

Ignoring the Assessor’s Inquiries Can Be Fatal To Your Appeal

In Maine the assessor may require the taxpayer to answer in writing all proper inquires as to the nature, situation, and value of the taxpayer’s property liable to be taxed. This request can include income, expenses, manufacturing or generational efficiencies, manufactured or generated sale price trends, or other related information. A taxpayer has thirty days to respond to the inquiring. Upon written request a taxpayer has an automatic thirty day extension to respond to the inquiring. The failure to supply the information will bar the taxpayer the right of appeal. Please be aware that some assessors use this provision of the law to inundate the taxpayer with inquires. The propriety of some of these inquires is questionable and some inquires appear to be patently improper. These inquires can be a cynical attempt to have the taxpayer’s appeal dismissed for failing to comply with an inquiry.

The Late Payment of Tax Can Deprive You Of Due Process

In most cases in order to have a valid tax appeal in Massachusetts your real estate property taxes must be paid timely. This means that generally the full amount of tax due must be in the hands of the collector of taxes on or before the due date. The mailing of the tax payment on the due date does not suffice. Thus in most cases if your taxes are one day late or one dollar short the taxpayer will not be granted a hearing on the merits of his appeal. This rule is unprecedented throughout the fifty states. Only Massachusetts adheres to this draconian standard. Ironically there is nothing in the law that prevents the assessors from making an abatement of property taxes if the taxes are paid late or even if they are not paid. It is only on a further appeal from the assessors’ decision that the taxes must be paid timely.


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