Friday, February 27, 2009

DC Government to Homeowners: Everything's Just Fine, So Pay Yer Taxes

According to the DC Examiner, residential property values are down a mere 3.67 percent in DC since the same time last year.

Let me clarify that. According to the Office of Tax and Revenue, property values are down a mere 3.67 percent in a year.

“We are very fortunate not to have our values plummet as they have in other parts of the country,” said Richie McKeithen, director of Real Property Tax Administration.

That is fortunate indeed, Mr. McKeithen. How convenient that despite the fact that hardly anyone can sell their homes, and I personally bought a house in Petworth last October for 27% less than it sold for exactly four years before, property values seem to be holding in DC according to the tax man.

I just looked up the proposed 2009 assessment for the house that I bought for $245,000. Four years ago, at the peak of the real estate market, it sold for $340,000.

2004 Sale Price: $340,000
2008 Assessment: $385,100

2008 Sale Price: $245,000
2009 Assessment: $394,120
Update... 2010 Proposed: $342,320

That's quite a bit of math right there. So, you claim property values have declined 4% citywide in just a year, a figure that is suspect at best. My own property is not just arguably, but actually worth nearly $100,000 less than it was at the peak of the market, since that is what it sold for. Yet despite all that, you decided it would be fun to raise my assessment by 2%. And not just raise it, but raise it to a value that is $150,000 higher than I bought it for not three months ago.

Well since I originally posted this, I got my proposed 2010 assessment. It did indeed go down from 2009, by more than 10%. Unfortunately, we're still a cool hundred grand over what I paid for it.

Wow. These are the same guys who gleefully raised our property tax assessments as values skyrocketed in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, the tax man seems to think that property values are holding up miraculously in the District. Meanwhile, banks are foreclosing on cardboard boxes under the Whitehurst Freeway.

As much as I love DC, it would be nice if once, just once, I didn't feel like I was being shaken down for the privilege of living here. I guess I need to appeal this one.

Information on property tax appeals can be found here. Copied from DCRA's web site:

If you wish to appeal your assessment, please use the application found below. Print out and complete the form, sign it, attach any supporting documents required, and mail or fax it to the following address:

Government of the District of Columbia
Real Property Tax Administration
Attn: Appeals Section
PO Box 176
Washington, DC 20044
Fax: (202) 442-6796

You must file your appeal within 30 days of the date of your assessment notice. The statutory deadline for filing appeals is April 1.


lacochran said...

Definitely appeal. I don't know if it'll do any good but it's worth a try.

In Fairfax County, our recent tax assessment was less, as expected.

Anonymous said...

I agree with lacochran - go ahead and appeal! And my place in the 'Fax went down a few thousand in tax assessment. Sad face.

Also, the cost of living here is at least not as bad as New York - and their taxes are awwwwful!

Anonymous said...

I found that my assessment went
down, but the amount that I owe
for taxes went up. What is that
about? I always appeal, but get
nowhere. What am I doing wrong?


Jamie said...

@Anon, I am about to find out. If I send them a 3-month old settlement statement and that's not good enough, then truly the system is broken.

Note - I updated the post, because I actually got the proposed 2010 assessment yesterday.