"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

State says woman's Broad Ripple property value nearly doubled in two years forcing homeowner into financial crisis!

This is yet another letter asking for help to sort out a property tax assessment. It's bad enough that greedy mortgage companies and irresponsible buyers went into high risk mortgages, but property tax increases like Indiana suffers are truly criminal.

Our reader bought a home in middle-class part of the city based on what she could afford in mortgage, insurance, and taxes. Since the state decided to raise property taxes (sometimes by as much as 850%), many homeowners are faced with tough choices. Unlike subprime borrowers, she did NOT sign on to a contract which caused her property tax to double.

There is talk that the taxpayers are going to have to bail out the greedy sub prime borrowers and lenders, yet where is the the help for responsible homeowners who are getting screwed out of their homes by tax and spend politicians?

Comments will be turned on so that suggestions can be offered to this homeowner. We suggested that she get an independent appraisal.

Hello! Don't know if you can help me with this, but I thought I would ask.

I live in the Warfleigh district of Broadripple. My taxes recently more than doubled, as my assessment went from $109,00 to $180,000 in two short years.

I bought the house in 2006.

I have been advised by the accessor's office to file an appeal, and I do understand how to fill out the form. I just don't know what arguments I can use, and didn't know if you had any suggestions.

I was told by the accessor's office that the accessment was based in large part on what I paid for the house, and it is true that I paid $180K for it in March, 2006. However, at that time taxes were $1500 a year.

I knew finances would be tight for a few years, but I went ahead and took the plunge. Now I am looking at an approximate tax of $3300. And, if the main argument to my appeal is "It's not fair!," I'm not going to get very far. I know I'm not the only one in this same boat. I wouldn't have bought this house if the original tax cost had been so high. I know that the tax rate is going to go down until 2010, but that sure doesn't help me now.


Taxpayer said...

Do I understand that you PAID $180,000 for the house in 2006, yet it was assessed at $109,000? If that's the case you may have a very hard time, but I'd certainly file an appeal anyway. And you probably WILL need to get an independent appraisal, which I've been told runs around $400.

I filed an appeal in 2003 when my taxes doubled the FIRST time. I spent the better part of two days at the assessor's office looking at records to see how "comparable" homes in my area were assessed -- you'll need that comparative information to make the argument. You also need to get the records on your OWN house (where you'll discover whether you're being assessed for features you don't have -- like a nonexistant basement or an extra bathroom.) If you find something like that, it's the first thing you can build your appeal on.

If your house needs major repairs or updating to sell, document that too -- get estimates of what such repairs will cost. Try to find homes of comparable size and age in your neighborhood and get the assessments of those properties. That info SHOULD be available at the assessor's office, but I'll warn you -- when we went there last summer when the first hideous bill came, they would not allow people to search the records. Without that documentation, you have very little to substantiate an appeal.

Look for homes around you that are for sale. If they are comparable in square footage and amenities, grab the sales info and see whether the price is much lower than your assessment and whether the house has been on the market for a long time. Your objective in an appeal -- unless they have flat-out made a mistake like assessing you for features you don't have -- is to prove you're being unfairly overcharged based on what comparable properties are charged.

Good luck! It IS possible to win one, but expect that even if you do, you won't see any reduction for at least a year. Voice of experience here!

Arrow said...

Couple of things:

First, if the assessor's office will not cooperate, slap a Freedom-Of-Information-Act (FOIA) in their face. Assessments for TAX purposes are public record.

Also, you might want to focus on the original assessment by looking for everything wrong you can find with your home. There is a maxim which states: When you want to sell your home, find everything right; but when you pay taxes, find everything wrong.

Also, please note that since the Indiana Supreme Court ruling that initially started this mess, has resulted in an ever-evolving change in the methodology of assessment. There are "schedules" that the assessors must use to determine a "market value." Attack the schedules by pointing out inconsistencies by the way they are applied. That information also falls under FOIA. In other words, use there own information against them.