Monday, July 30, 2007
Re-assessed to death
One of the main reasons we bought our house was the ten-year tax credit deal. Because it was an abandoned property rehabbed to historic specifications, the City was supposed to credit our tax bill each year with an amount equal to the increased tax due to re-assessment after the rehab. This plan is to encourage suckers from the County to move into formerly abandoned City properties. Makes sense. It lured us downtown.
Yes, the process can be a bit confusing. But the final result is supposed to be that our out-of-pocket property tax costs should not increase over the pre-rehab amount for ten years. Before the rehab work on our house, the annual property taxes amounted to $500. We are supposed to be locked in at $500 for ten years.
I got a property tax bill for $5000 dollars a month ago. We can't afford more than $400 a month in property taxes. If we could I would buy a BMW. I called the City. I waited on the phone in an endless queue. Every two minutes an electronic voice updates you on on your progress through this queue: "You are now caller number 23. Your approximate wait time is one hour and seven minutes." An awful experience. I got through eventually to someone who told me to wait because the paperwork hadn't gone through and that everything would be fine in two weeks.
So I waited. The paperwork went through. I got a bill for $3,500. This of course is still $3000 more than what we were told we would have to pay each year. I went through the miserable phone queue again: "You are now caller number 8,547. By the time we get to you, the sun will have expanded into its red giant phase, consuming the innermost planets and rendering your concerns petty and insignificant."
I got through again. I was given the name Brigitte in the City office. Brigitte said she had to go into the Archives, and that it would take her a while. Two weeks later Brigitte called back and said there was a mistake, but she didn't know what it was. She gave me the name Owen at the State level. Now I'm at the State level, and expect in another two weeks to be at the Federal level.
Why can't anything be easy? I just know we're going to have to hire a lawyer and fight this bullshit, and that we'll end up at hearings. And that as a result I'll be paying thousands in attorney fees to avoid paying thousands in property taxes that we're not supposed to owe in the first place.
Wah. I want my mommy.