Many residents are asking the following questions about their July 1, 2012 property tax bill. The following information is to help you understand how taxes are calculated.
Why are my real estate taxes increasing if the assessment value has decreased with the 2011 revaluation and the mill rate has decreased from last year?
The short answer is for the past five years your property was not taxed on the full assessment value. The 2011 revaluation has rectified this situation and now taxes are being calculated on the full assessment value for all properties in West Hartford.
When the 2006 revaluation was completed, the Town Council decided to implement a five-year phase-in exemption (a gradual increase in taxable assessments and property taxes) for any property assessment that increased more than 25% from the prior revaluation.
After the second year and at the beginning of the recession, the Town Council decided to suspend the gradual increase for the last three years of the phase-in. Therefore, from July 2007 through January 2012, most property taxes were not based on the full assessment (70% of market value), but rather an assessment which included a phase-in exemption.
With the 2011 revaluation, the phase-in exemption program
expired and current property taxes are now based on full assessments. For this reason, some taxpayers may see an increase on their property taxes despite a decrease in property value and a lower mill rate.
To see how your tax bill was calculated , go to the Town of West Hartford’s web site, www.westhartford.org, and click on Tax Calculator. Enter your property address. A chart will appear with the full assessment value, any portion of assessment that was not phased in, and the final calculation.
Is there an appeal process?
Yes. You can appeal your assessment annually if you believe that your property’s assessment did not accurately reflect 70% of the market value as of the October 1st, 2011 revaluation date. If you wish to appeal your assessment, you must submit an application to the Board of assessment Appeals. The filing period is January 2nd through February 20th each year. Applications will be available on-line or in the Assessment Office, Room 142, after January 2nd.
Can taxes be appealed?
No. Taxes are simply a function of the assessment multiplied by the mill rate.
Can I make payment arrangements?
Yes. Staff in the Tax Office can discuss with you the terms of payment. Please be aware, however, the state law requires interest of 18% to be charged on any unpaid balance after August 1st.
Are there tax relief programs available?
Yes. The State of Connecticut and Town of West Hartford have several tax relief programs. They are:
- State Elderly and Totally Disabled Homeowner's Program
- State Legally Blind Program
- Local Totally Disabled Income Based Program
- Local Tax Freeze
- State and Local Veterans Income Based Programs
- State Active Duty Military Service Motor Vehicle Exemption
- State Federal Soldiers and Sailors Act Motor Vehicle Exemption
For information on the above tax relief programs, visit the Assessment Office in Room 126, www.westhartford.org/Assessment, or call 561-7410. For information on other financial relief programs, visit the Human Services Office in Room 306, www.westhartford.org/HumanServices, or call 561-7561.