These are FACTS: The National Taxpayers Union writes that as many as 60% of all homeowners are over-assessed and not in line with their home value. (“How To Fight Property Taxes” 2004 p.1
Consumer Reports has published that property tax records show an error rate of 40% exists in estimating property taxes. (Nov.1992 v57 nil p.723)
A compassionate ear and willingness to levy fair assessments should be the duty of the property tax assessor’s office. It is not. Only if one is willing to go out of the way and take the time and effort to appeal an over-the-top property tax valuation, will justice be served.
The System That Rules The Roost
The property tax system seems at odds with what is common sense. Tax districts manage their own costs and rely on the taxpayer to pay for the infrastructure, school systems by way of a tax rate. Although tax assessments can be appealed, tax rates cannot be appealed.
Neighboring municipalities of affluent neighborhoods sporting high-end amenities can be found to have the same or even lower tax rates as poorer working class neighborhoods. Those living in a better location can find themselves paying comparatively less than those living in poorer neighborhoods.
Legislatures and politicians lack the political will to increase state sales taxes or state income tax to pay for any targeted cut in property taxes. However, more important, is the lack of will for legislatures and politicians to live economically, increase efficiency and lower their expenses. Nowhere is this system more terrorizing than in New Jersey, the highest property tax in the nation (the average New Jersey family property tax jumped from paying $6,244 to $7,410 in 2013); governmental tax and spend is practiced, the householder be damned.
Property Taxes and Government Spending
Overspending, excess state entitlements, flagrant infrastructure outlays and a lack of reward to expense mentality have captured not only New Jersey, but other states. The US Government and Congress further aggravate the situation by their reckless budget breaking and irresponsible financial conduct . Researchers from Princeton and Northwestern Universities concluded that US government policies rarely align with the preferences of the majority of Americans, but instead favor special interests and lobbying organizations. It’s the power play, “have’s” calling the shots against the “have not’s.”
Those in power will not go out of their way to correct excess property tax assessments or many other errors in the system. An enlightened leadership whose main priority would be a fair treatment of their homeowner communities is possible. Political office needs filling by those of social concern and consciousness. Legislatures and public servants have to be screened for those keeping the best interest of their people and householders in their heart.
These types of public servants will be seen by their outward signs of compassion, by serving and a head to toe awareness for right action. They will never practice temptation and choose to live in love, truth and simplicity.
The essence of this mindset can be found within Christian, Jewesh, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Yoga as well as other spiritual paths. It’s not often found, in my experience, in public government employees whose ultimate purpose should focus on giving a leg up and helping those whom they serve. All too often, we find leaders bent on blind political ambition and employees in it just for the monetary reward. Public service is not an organization; it is not an apostate but a committed servant to humanity.
The country needs men and women who are not looking for safety or looking to control and enforce inflexible standards. Neither should blind approval be the norm for those in public office, rather people of compassion looking to help and genuinely resolve problems. Men and women committed to helping the householders by relieving them from a heavy load of unfair valuations.
Testing for knowledge and proficiency for a job title for any public servant may be important, however, testing for the right compassionate candidate is essential if change is to be on the horizon. Utilizing non-fakeable testing coupled with definitive psychological examinations can eliminate many undesirable mindsets when it comes to hiring public servants. Government employees game the system earning 30 percent or more than the governed. Special interest groups twist the system and rarely go out of the way to help victims. It’s about time for the taxpayer to get a fair shake.
Property Tax Consulting
Nevertheless, there is an incredible opportunity for those who would like to engage in property tax consulting as a business to help homeowners reduce over-charged assessments. Rarely, if ever, will a tax assessor go personally out of the way to reduce property taxes without a preponderance of evidence that, frankly, homeowners neither have an idea how to produce or lack the energy to follow through.
The task is similar to being like a Robin Hood in that you are taking money out of the mouth of an unfair tax system and returning it to the homeowner and getting rewarded by a contingency fee in the process.
Helping homeowners lower their property tax is a legitimate business that can generates an above average financial reward. Average appeal reductions achieved with appeal can be in the 20% to 25% range. That ‘s a lot of reoccurring savings to a homeowner.