Real Estate Assessments in Connecticut: How they work.
In the state of Connecticut, property taxes are a massive cost for property owners. Connecticut has the dubious distinction of being rated 48 out of 50 states for it’s residents paying an average of $5388 on a median price house.* With property tax rates so high in the state, it is essential to make sure your property is assessed as accurately as possible. An overvaluation may result in thousands in extra property taxes. Here is how they work.
Property Taxes: Introduction
Property taxes are the largest portion of every municipal government’s budget. The Grand List is a master list of properties and values in a town or city. In accordance with state statutes governing the administration of property taxes, the towns must take certain steps to insure the taxes are collected fairly and accurately. Part of this process is the assessment process.
How are property taxes assessed?
Every town has a tax assessor and the tax assessor is responsible for revaluation of properties on a five-year (normal) schedule. The state legislature sets the schedule and may schedule additional revaluations should there be significant changes in the real estate market (like what we saw in 2007-8). Your tax assessor also maintains a property record card also known as a field card which describes your property and any additions or improvements you may have made. An assessed value in Connecticut is 70% of the appraised value. This is the value which will be sent to you in the mail typically in November or December of your revaluation year. See the schedule here.
Who does the revaluation?
Typically, a third-party company will be hired to analyze all properties in a town by reviewing your property record card, viewing your property either from the street or by inspection and comparing similar market data to determine an appraised value.
What is a typical timeline?
Typically, a town tax assessor schedules the revaluation, notices go out of the new assessments in November or December of the year and if you are fine with the assessment, then your new assessment takes effect the next January 1. If you wish to appeal your assessment, it must be appealed prior to February 20.
What standard must the appraisal follow?
Fair Market Value(FMV) in real estate is defined as “the most probably price a property would bring on the open market given prudent, knowledgeable and willing buyers and sellers.” This definition was codified in the August 1990 Federal Register and has been consistently upheld in court. This is where you have rights. When a town does not assess your property to accurately reflect 70% of its fair market value, you may appeal your assessment within certain time limits.
What happens when you challenge your tax assessment?
Every town has a board of assessment appeals. Following a challenge to the board of assessment appeals, you appeal to the superior court. Contact us for more information or check out our other posts for more information on the appeal process.