Hundreds seek tax relief through property assessments

By Charles Sercombe
Times are tough for a lot of folks.
Sure, we all know that, but here’s further proof that the economy is pounding households: about 400 homeowners asked for a break on their home values during the recent Assessment Board of Appeals hearings.
A lower house assessment means a reduction in the amount of property taxes owed.
Out of the 400 who asked for a tax break, 100 of them claimed they simply didn’t have enough money to pay their taxes at all. Unfortunately for them, there is no such thing as getting a 100 percent break.
City Assessor Tony Fuoco says that the best that can be done, if hardship can be proven, is to reduce what’s owed to 3-1/2 percent of the homeowner’s total income.
Others thought that since houses that were sold near them for a super low price, say $5,000 or so, that sale price affects their house value.
Those sales are typically forced by a bank and cannot be used to justify a reduction of your property value.
“You can’t put your value at that,” Fuoco said. “That’s not a typical sale.”
If you are still waiting to hear about your application, Fuoco said the city’s two board of appeals should finish up within the next few weeks.

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