Bold Colors Blog

Stickin’ it to the libs, one day at a time

They want how much?!

Posted by Liberty on November 12, 2008

I received a Property Value Change Notice in the mail yesterday and when I saw what Skagit County has assessed our property at for our 2009 taxes, my jaw literally dropped.  Needless to say, it was a much bigger number that we could have expected.  I tried to call the county to ask if perhaps there had been a mistake but it was 4:20 pm and that may have been a little too close to quitting time for the county employees to answer the phone.  So then I dug out all the Property Value Change Notices we’ve received since we purchased this property.  A little bit of quick math showed that, according to Skagit County, the assessed value of our property has risen by 47.5% from 2004 to the 2009 tax year.  Interesting!

Using the Skagit County website, I was able to pull up a 15 year history of the valuation of this property and the taxes paid each year.  In past years, there have been several instances where the value did not increase from year to year and there were even a couple of times when taxes were lower than the year immediately prior.  Unfortunately, that has only happened for us one time–we paid $40.43 less in 2006 than we did in 2005.  2006 aside, our taxes have risen.  In 2009, our property taxes will be over $500 more than they were in 2004.

I understand and accept that property taxes are part of owning property.  It’s just interesting how quickly that valuation has jumped up–especially when all you hear in the news these days is how bad the real estate market is.  I’ll be doing some more research to find out how the real estate market really has been doing in our area and how much this house is really worth.  If you’ve received one of these notices, examine it closely!  If you don’t think that the assessed value of your property is fair and accurate, you have the right to appeal it.

Incidentally, when people say that schools in Washington are underfunded, I usually don’t believe them.  Confirmation for that came on my 2008 tax statement.  Our home is quite modest and yet over $650.00 of our property taxes went to the local school district.  That doesn’t count all of the state taxes that we pay that go towards education.  In my opinion, the problem is how schools are spending the money, not how much property owners are paying.  But, that’s another post for another day.

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2 Responses to “They want how much?!”

  1. BB said

    I am interested in hearing more about what you find out about your increase in property taxes. My property value jumped up $51,000. I live in a house that was built in 1901, has 2.85 acres,in flood plain, only has one bathroom and three bedrooms. The only improvement was a horse shelter. I did get ahold of the county Assessor and he told me the increase was from 2007 home prices not what has happened in 2008. He mailed me a “Taxpayer petition to the skagit county board of equialization for review of real property valuation determination” form to fill out if I wanted to appeal. The burden of proof is on me now (the form was sure to point that out) and I have to find evidence to support what I think my propery is worth. What a hassle. All they need to do is read the news paper.

  2. Liberty said

    BB,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I contacted the assessor’s office also and the guy I talked to was pretty helpful. He spent a lot of time on the phone with me justifying the value that the county came up with. He did admit, however, that the assesment took place in February and the market has changed drastically since then.

    This particular piece of property is by no means prime real estate–two bedrooms, one bathroom and only 1100 square feet. We have updated the kitchen and mudroom and built a garden shed since the last assesment but I have a really hard time believing that those changes should translate into the kind of value that the county claims.

    My next course of action will be to consult with the real estate agent who helped us buy the place to see what we could potentially get on the open market. I’ll be challenging the county using that same form that you mentioned and I completely agree that it is ridiculous that the burden of proof is on the taxpayer. But, a lot of people are just going to accept the increases in assessed value and pay the increased taxes without giving the county any trouble. I’m going to appeal it just on principle–don’t know how much you read on my blog but I’m pretty anti-tax.

    Anyhow, good luck with your appeal. I hope that Skagit County will adjust down to an amount that’s reflective of what you think your property is worth. And thanks again for your comment. This blog is really new and not getting a whole lot of traffic yet so it makes me feel good to see the discussion started!

    Thanks,

    Liberty

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