It was reported in various news articles, that on January 18, 2010, Indiana state legislators approved a proposal that could put property tax limits into Indiana’s constitution. The legislature voted to send the bill for a voter referendum in November. It seems that property tax bills skyrocketed in much of the state in 2007 because of new assessment rules and other factors, sending hordes of homeowners to the Statehouse demanding reform. In 2008, the protestors were rewarded with a state law fully implemented on January 1, 2010. The law limits property tax bills to one percent of a homes’ assessed value, with 2 percent caps on rental property and 3 percent limits on business property. The reported stance of many of the lawmakers was that putting the limits into the constitution would make the law harder to undo in the future. Made by the state legislature in Indianapolis, this law may just be a reflection of things to come around the nation.
The economy is still in full blown recession, and many government taxing entities are scrambling to meet their budgets. From reports around the nation, there doesn’t seem to be enough budget cuts to solve the short fall. What many property tax entities around the country are doing instead of raising taxes is to raise property values to make up the short fall. This way, the onus of proof rests with the property owner instead of the taxing authorities.
As an example, I recently had to challenge my local taxing authority who raised the value of my home by 20% from last year when real estate where I live is going no where but down. Due to the Texas Taxpayer Bill of Rights, I exercised the right to appeal the appraiser’s decision. The appraiser based her decision on four comparative prices, and I based my conclusions on 12 comparative prices. I am glad the rules are fair because I won my decision before a panel of three neutral appaisers, and my taxes went back to last year’s value.
Indiana is a little different than Texas, thank goodness, and according to your Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the Department of Revenue conducts an annual hearing by July 1 of each year. The purpose of the hearing is to provide you with an opportunity to recommend changes in statutes and departmental policies, processes and procedures. This system must work in Indiana because homeowners seemed to have had great success in 2007. Regardless, taxpayers revolting around the country could be a very healthy issue for us in the future. Maybe a simpler form of taxation is coming down the pipeline one day.
There is a tax association in Florida which claims that if we abolish all of the current taxing codes, bureaucracies, and special taxing districts, then replace them with a consumption tax based upon what is spent that contains no exemptions, exceptions, or exclusions, we can charge only one percent tax and still meet every existing taxing entity need today. Whether or not the system the Taxpayer Association has suggested is practical is open for debate, but what is not open to debate is the fact we have one of the more complicated tax systems around the world, and there are conflicts every day between taxing authorities and taxpayers.
The good news is that this country still recognizes that you, as a taxpayer, have the right to be represented when you are having to deal with taxing entities. Not all things will go right for every taxpayer who may be having to face a taxing entity, so, it is a good idea that you have a tax attorney to represent you. If you live in or around the area of Indianapolis, Indiana, and you have been faced with a taxing dilemma, contact us today at www.taxlawhome.com . We will get you in touch with a tax lawyer in your area who will be able to help you answer all the questions you may have about tax law.