Many people mistakenly believe that it is the change in value that determines their taxes. In actuality, values on homes could double, but if the overall budget for the town stayed the same, the individual taxes on each property would stay the same. Rather, it is the town's need to raise money to provide services to the taxpayers that establishes the burden on the entire town. If those needs increase, so does the tax rate, and subsequently, the tax.
The assessed value of a property rests strongly on the principles of market value and equitability.
Market value is defined as the value that a property would most likely bring in an open market, with proper exposure, a buyer and seller who are knowledgeable and operating in their own best interest, and with considerations made that are in terms of cash or its equivalent.
Equitability is also a strong component of municipal valuation or assessing. In order to be taxed fairly, homes must be valued in a similar fashion. For example, it would be inappropriate for a town to value a six room cape on a half acre of land at $350,000 and value the same cape next door for $450,000.
Investigation is an Important First Step
If taxpayers feel they are being unfairly valued, they should investigate to see if there is some reason for concern. Look at the assessed values of similar homes in the same area. Compare cape homes to capes, ranches to ranches, etc. Check the SALES of comparable properties in the area. It is extremely important to research only sales of comparable homes during the period being considered. FY 2014 values are based on sales that occurred during the calendar year 2012.
Search Assessors Online Data Base to look up your property record card and check the data on the card. If disparities exist, contact the Assessors’ Office to set up an appointment to have the property inspected. It is important to remember that a party filing for an abatement on a property that has sold recently for an amount less than the present assessment will have to understand that those assessments must be based on earlier sales.
For specific questions related to tax bill payments click here.