Indianapolis Property Taxes - A Homebuyers Story
A Phone Call
A recent phone call from a gentleman about the amount of real estate property tax he had to pay for the reconciliation bill in July made me think about what a mess this whole year has been for homeowners, both those who are buying and those who are selling. This particular person closed on his home in July 2007, a really bad month to close on a home in Indianapolis.
Let me explain – Last July was the month the property taxes were stayed by the Governor. When tax bills were received last year, (late, I might add) there was an uproar from homeowners in Indianapolis.
The tax paying citizens of Indianapolis marched at the Governor’s home over the July 4th Holiday last year and back then, I thought, what irony. It was Independence Day and we definately needed some independence from property taxes and their effect on our freedom to live in our homes without fear property taxes would be the final straw to break the proverbial camels back.
The property tax bill received in July 2007 was for taxes due for the first half of 2006. The people thought their voice was heard when the Governor placed a stay on taxes at 2005 rates, so all propety could be reassessed. It was a temporary reprieve, backed by a promise of a rebate. So, everyone paid the bill at the new temporary rate. They again paid the “new, temporary” rate in November of 2007. Okay – now we got through that year, except - whoops – the new assessments are in and now the “REAL” bill will go out for the difference. This bill was the reconciliation bill (C-bill) everyone receievd in June of this year. Now, remember, this is a reconciliation of taxes for 2006, payable in 2007; actually paid in 2008. I’m really sorry if I have lost you by now. It’s almost unbelievale, except for this homebuyers story
A Homebuyer's Story
The gentleman who called me bought his home in July, 2007 about the time the original 2006 tax bills were sent out. For his home, the taxes were around $7000. semi-annually and he would have received a full year plus almost a month of tax credit……oh, about, a little over $14,000………..but taxes were stayed and instead he received a credit based on the previous years taxes (2005) of about $4000. semi-annually. Guess what happened to the other $6000.00? Yes, that is SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS. He received a nice little bill from the county for that amount, commonly known as the C-Bill. Now, here’s the problem – he DID NOT live in the home in 2006. Here it is 2008, and he is paying $6000.00 in taxes for a home he did not occupy at the time the taxes were accrued.
When the Governor made this nice little concession for all the great taxpayers of Indianapolis, there were no guidelines to go by for determining what tax the buyer would face in the future – no, we didn’t receive those reassessments until June 2008. All we could do was go by the current certified taxes, which were wrong! Or guess at an amount which could be negotiated for future taxes.
Let’s see, how does one negotiate an unknown amount, especially when we don’t know if the new amount will be different?
Remember, it’s not over yet – oh yeah, we now have assessments and real dollar amounts, but we still don’t have May 2008 bill, which may come out in November,(I’m guessing after the election) then we will have to wait for the November tax bill, then we will have the May tax bill again, hopefully in May 2009. That will be three tax bills payable in a six month period. Talk about confusing – if you have your taxes escrowed and they are paid by your lender, please read this story.
I’d love to hear your stories about how the property tax situation has affected you.