Bell: Column

Monday, June 18, 2007 7:00 pm

Start Date:  6/18/2007  All Day  
End Date:  6/18/2007    
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Each year, Hoosier homeowners fret the arrival of their dreaded property tax bills and this year is no different, especially with the media frenzy surrounding the chaos of the rebate checks.  One change that has not received much publicity is Senate Enrolled Act 287 (SEA 287), which adjusts the procedures for property tax assessment and exemption appeals. 

Property owners will now have 45 days to appeal their property taxes once their first bill arrives.  Previously, the time to appeal an assessment often expired before the first property tax bill arrived.  Now, taxpayers will be able to appeal their assessment once they know their total bill.  With many taxpayers experiencing increases, it is crucial to allow taxpayers the ability to appeal.  

Property tax deductions for low-income elderly, disabled veterans and WW# veterans were also increased to provide these individuals with further assistance.  Effective for pay 2008 property taxes, the assessed value eligibility was increased by 27 percent.  This will raise the amount of property value that an eligible participant may own in order to still receive the deduction.  With the 27 percent increase, the assessed value to still receive the deduction for low-income elderly is $182,430, disabled veterans is $143,160 and WW# veterans is $206,500.

This legislation also mandates better training for elected officials who assess your property.  To take office as a county assessor, elected township assessor or township trustee assessor, candidates must be certified as a level two assessor-appraiser.  This will allow the assessors who determine your property tax rates to more accurately reflect the values of property.  This will hopefully end any discrepancy in assessments between neighboring identical homes or properties. 

In addition, SEA 287 expands the eligibility of individuals allowed to participate in the petition/remonstrance process.  Non-property owners have never been allowed to participate in the remonstration process, putting groups such as renters at a disadvantage.  These individuals are affected since the rate of property taxes will affect their rent.  Now, all registered voters of the affected areas will be able to sign and participate in effectively petitioning their property taxes. 

Property taxes and assessment can be a very confusing subject.  If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact me at 1-800-382-9841 or e-mail me at h83@in.gov.  It is also possible to write me at 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.

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