FAQ

“If you let the Assessor into your home your value will go up!”

If an assessor has to guess what is in your home you are likely to have an incorrect assessment either more or less.  Our overall goal and the people's goal should be to provide us with the most information so that the entire town can be sure that they are paying the correct amount of taxes.  We do the best we can to estimate fairly but at the end of the day we have no idea what kind of material was used to build your home and what kind of condition it is in without seeing it first hand. From the outside we can only see 3 out of 10 components that make up a home. Roofing, Siding, and Foundation. We are also looking for information on, Framing, Basement quality and finishes, Flooring, Overall Interior, Electrical, Plumbing, and Heating Sources.


It is important of the inspector to not only review the quality but also the deterioration or negative influences of the property.

“If you let the Assessor in, they will condemn your home!”

Our job is not to make judgment on if your home is condemnable or not.  We are there to assess the home and make judgments on how much it is worth.

“My house is a mess, come back later”

We, as Assessors, enter hundreds of homes a year.  We do not pass judgment on the homeowner or assess a home differently for the cleanliness. We are looking at the bones of the home to determine what the assessed value should be compared to similar properties.  


Also to be noted, these projects are massive.  We do not have time to jump back and forth hoping to catch someone at home, when they aren’t busy, and their house is clean.  We will show up, knock two to three times, leave a door hanger, and hope the owner gets back to us to schedule a meeting.  If we do not get a response we will send a copy of our estimate to each owner in town before commitment with another request for information (706-A). If at that time we do not receive a response, the assessment will be considered a good estimate and you will have given up your right to an appeal based on the 706-A request for a true and perfect list.

“What is a 706-A request?”

“You must let the assessor inside your home.”

This is 100% false. It is your home. If you do not want us inside your home, that is your right. If you do not want us measuring your home, please let us know.  Just remember the 706-A, if you refuse entry and do not provide us with any information your right to an appeal/abatement will be voided. See 706-A definition. This means, if our measurements are incorrect, or we have incorrect information about your home because we cannot see it from the road, we will not be able to change your assessment until you provide us with proof of what is there.

See 706-A Definition

“What if my taxes do go up?”

If your taxes go up, it is likely that you were paying less than your fair share of taxes before. This would mean your proper burden of the overall taxes would have been placed on others throughout the town. I.e. This is why revaluations are important.

“If I think my valuation is WAY too high - what can I do about that?”

At the end of our project we will provide you with a copy of all the information we have collected on your property or properties along with the valuation.  We will also provide you with an estimated mill rate based off of last year's budget and our new total assessment.

If you find that your valuation is much more than you think it should be, you will have an opportunity to set up a meeting with us and discuss it. Be sure to bring in any documentation as to why you believe it is high e.g. An appraisal.


If after the discussion you still are not pleased with the answer you will have 185 day from the date of commitment to file an abatement application with the Assessors.  If the abatement is denied, you will have 60 days to appeal the decision in front of the Municipal Board of Assessment Review or The County Commissioner.  If again it is denied, you will have 60 days to appeal the decision with the State Board of Property Tax Review.

More information can be found in this bulletin Property Tax Abatement and Appeals Procedure & Appeals Diagram

"What are some ways we can reduce our taxes?"

“Why are we doing this now when the housing market is at its peak/lowest?”

By state law, municipalities are required to have a revaluation done every 10 years.  Although some towns go longer the biggest determining factor is based on Certified Ratio and Quality Rating. 


State law requires the certified ratio of a town be no more than 110% of just value and no less than 70% of just value (Synonymous with Market Value).  When the certified ratio is not at 100% it affects exemption amounts and current use program amounts. 


State law also requires that the quality rating be no more than 20%. (which means that the difference in valuation between similar properties should never be greater than 20%).

Ref. Title 36 §327. Minimum assessing standards


The biggest benefit of a revaluation is in the discovery process.  When we do the discovery process correctly it does not matter if the housing market is at its peak, or has crashed miserably.  What we do is gather information on every single dwelling, deck, and outbuilding. We apply a grade and condition to each based on materials used, age, and condition. This ensures that no matter what happens with the numbers, all of the buildings in town are assessed the same way, creating fair and equitable assessments throughout the municipality.  We are then able to adjust cost files to match the market to keep the certified ratio and quality rating in check if we see huge changes.

“Will everyone's taxes go up?”

No, typically we tell residents ⅓ of the property taxes will go down, ⅓ will stay roughly the same, and ⅓ will go up.  As long as the budget is roughly the same as the year before it would be impossible for everyone's taxes to go up.

(Town Budget) divided by (Overall Property Assessment) = Mill Rate

  $4,543,820              /                    288,611,092                   = .0157 or (15.7 Mills)



The mill rate is inversely proportional to the overall assessed value. If the budget stays the same and the overall valuation goes up because of a town wide revaluation, then the mill rate will go down.  


Example: 

50 million dollar Overall Assessment Increase based on unassessed property and the housing market increase. 


(Town Budget) divided by (Overall Property Assessment) = Mill Rate

   $4,543,820              /                      338,611,092                 = .0134 or (13.4 Mills)



Example: 

50 million dollar Overall Assessment Increase based on Unassessed property and the house market increase. With an increase in budget of $100,000


(Town Budget) divided by (Overall Property Assessment) = Mill Rate

   $4,643,820              /                     338,611,092                  = .0137 or (13.7 Mills)


The properties that will see an increase in their taxes are typically the homes that were undervalued compared to the other homes in town using the old cost files.  This change happens over time as trends in types of homes, number of rooms, baths, etc. become more of a demand than others.  Another example would be the price increase that someone is willing to pay for property on the ocean vs what that cost may have been 10 years ago.