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Old 10-15-2016, 05:30 AM
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,416 posts, read 2,170,640 times
Reputation: 1300


I lived in a suburban Indy county, recently moved from another suburban Indy county in the last year. My county just issued our assessment and once again it appears the locals love playing with property taxes to maximize their take. I previously lived in another county that one year magically declared my so-so condition mini-barn worth $5K and moved it to the personal property classification. While the residential property is capped at 1%, the personal property classification allows for a max taxation at 3% of AV. Not really knowing how much a mini-barn cost, and the fact we were going to be moving, I didn't really fight the figure. They did fix it for one year, as the person I called couldn't tell me why they had taken $5K from the 1% cap AV and moved it to the 3% cap personal property section. The next year, it was back in the personal property section, and when I called, I was finally given that this figure represents my mini-barn. Oh well, I paid it and we moved.

When I moved, I had a mini-barn built and it only cost maybe $2,000. So the AV in my old county was completely off. It was clear this was nothing more than a money grab by the locals. Well, I finally got my AV for our new house w/mini-bar. This county fairly assessed the mini-barn value, and they also put it in the personal property category as to maximize their tax revenue. One thing they did, which I'm kinda on the fence about, but understand why they do it, is make assumptions about the property. This assumption raised my AV by about $50K/year. What they did, and most counties do this, is that they come out and measure the outside of the home. They county porches and stoops and whatever else. Their measurements were correct. Where they just assumed stuff was with my basement. I do have basement, it is clear there is one with the one escape window we have. The basement is partial and unfinished, but the county I live in just assumed it was a full basement and that it was finished. These assumptions drastically increased my AV due to the values that their computer program assigns.

I just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that even if your AV seems fair or is just somewhat high, definitely check your property report card and make sure it is correct. Additionally, if you see something was moved to category #3 (the personal property category), question it until you get a clear answer, which might have to come from the assessor themselves. If it is an outbuilding or two, make sure they are actually assessing it at a fair value.

My new county was easy to work with. They were able to fix the issue so that I didn't have to file the official appeal. The time to do this is now before the new tax bills are printed.
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