Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Property Tax Rebellion Brewing After Real Estate Collapse

From ABC

Never judge a house by its tax bill. That's the lesson Don Newby, 65, is learning.

The construction manager from Gibbsboro, N.J., is paying boom-era property taxes on a home that has lost 20 percent of its value in the past three years. He blames the Gibbsboro tax authorities, which haven't reassessed property values in the town since 2003.

"That's absurd," says Newby, who pays $14,000 a year in taxes on a four-bedroom, bi-level modern house in the New Jersey township that's not far from Philadelphia. Newby, who was unemployed for a year following the economic collapse, claims the government is intentionally delaying new assessments to benefit from the lag as long as possible.

"When you watch how property values have come down, it appears I could save almost $2,000 in taxes."

Costly Lag in Assessing Property Values

Americans around the country are grumbling that local tax assessors haven't caught up with the real estate downturn, leaving homeowners with unfairly high property taxes. Many disgruntled homeowners including Newby are challenging authorities, either by appealing their tax bills or mobilizing groups to push for tax reforms.

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