Update: How much did your property tax increase?

Sent to the Lyme Listserv on 22 February 2022:

I just filed for an abatement since our Lyme property tax bill went up 31% for no obvious reason. Although other properties went up by similar amounts, tax bills for many other properties actually decreased. You can see the changes for your street at the Tax Fairness website:  https://taxfairness.github.io/Taxes2021/

The abatement form is at: https://www.lymenh.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif4636/f/uploads/revisedabatementform.pdf

It’s long, but pretty straightforward. I attach the answers I provided on my application below – you are free to use them and modify for your situation.

IMPORTANT: The deadline for filing for an abatement is next Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Please get back to me if you have any questions. Thanks.

Rich Brown

Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public body, such as the Lyme Planning Board, Budget Committee, or Trustees of the Trust Funds where I volunteer. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

Outline for Lyme Property Tax Abatement Form – Deadline – Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Sections A and B: Fill in your name and address

Section C: Fill in the property address to be abated

Section D – Other properties: Fill in the addresses of other properties you own (if any)

Section E: Reason for Abatement Application

In 2021, the Town of Lyme spent 4% more than in the previous year. If all property valuations increased the same amount relative to others, we all would expect our tax bills to increase by about 4% (in the absence of significant improvements or changes to the homes.)

The tax on my property increased by $4,164, that’s a 31% increase ($13,381 in 2020 to $17,545 in 2021). This is about eight times the expected increase.

This increase is disproportionate to other properties in town, especially those properties whose taxes went down this year. As examples, see the data presented to the Select Board on 10 February 2022 for Breck Hill Road, 85 Dartmouth College Highway, and Wilmott Way (attached)

Finally, this disproportionate assessment, if left to stand, will continue for the next five years, increasing the unfairness relative to other properties in town.

Section F: Taxpayer’s opinion of Market Value

As a non-professional, I do not know how to set a value on my property. Furthermore, my opinion is immaterial since the Town hired a professional assessor last year to set correct property values as part of the five-year Revaluation process.

What factors did the Assessor use to set the value of my property? What comparable properties were considered?

Finally, the question “Would you sell your property for this assessment?” is unfair and unreasonable. Not only is my property not currently for sale, but I have no recourse to this opinion. In an arms-length transaction, I can accept or reject the buyer’s offer. I have no option with the town, except to file this abatement.

If you own multiple properties, you might include this statement:

I do not agree with the statement in Section D that “[all properties] must be considered in determining … a disproportionate assessment.” If one property is incorrectly assessed, its value should be corrected, regardless of whether any other properties are correct or not. If one property is 10% too high, and another 10% too low, it doesn’t “balance out”. That’s still unfair.

Sections H and I: Signatures and certifications… Deadline is Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Tax Increases – 85 Dartmouth College Highway: https://taxfairness.github.io/Taxes2021/Tax_Increases_85_Dartmouth_College_Highway.pdf

Tax Increases – Breck Hill Road: https://taxfairness.github.io/Taxes2021/Tax_Increases_Breck_Hill_Road.pdf

Tax Increases – Wilmott Way: https://taxfairness.github.io/Taxes2021/Tax_Increases_Wilmott_Way.pdf

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