Monday, February 20, 2017

April 5th is deadline for property tax relief.

Nashville has experienced steady growth for a number of years but rapid growth in the last three years that continues.  Something like 30,000 people a year move to Nashville.  This is pushing up property values.  One may drive down a street that one haven't been on in a while and hardly recognize it.  As a home goes on the market, it is purchased, the existing house torn down and a larger very expensive home goes up in its place. I am shocked at some of the places they are building homes and the prices the sellers are getting.

Nashville is currently undergoing a reappraisal. Property is reappraised not to bring in more tax revenue but to equalize taxes so that those with more expensive property pay more taxes than those in more modest homes. Some people will get a shock when they discover what their property is worth.  Mayor Barry, to her credit, has said she will not raise taxes this year.  By law, a reappraisal can not increase revenue to the government. Following the reappraisal, the local government must approve a new lower certified tax rate that raises no more money than the old tax rate.  Often however, politicians see this as an opportunity to slip in a tax increase, and immediately after adopting the new certified tax rate, they adopt a tax increase tax rate.  Citizens often do not understand what has happened and blame the increase in property taxes on the reappraisal.

So, who will see a tax increase due to the property mass reappraisal?  If you live in an area that has had property values increase greater than the average increase in values, you can expect a property tax increase.  If property values increased at rate less that the average, you should expect a decrease in property taxes.  The already highly desirable areas to live saw increases but more modest increases in value than in the newly "gentrifying" neighborhoods, like The Nations, Woodbine, Englewood, and parts of East Nashville. If you live in a modest neighborhood but every time a house goes on the market it is torn down and replaced by a much larger expensive home, you are likely to have big tax increase.

I don't have much sympathy for those who recently purchased a $275,000 house in Woodbine; they can afford the taxes.  For those who paid $36,000 for their Woodbine home in 1990, they may have a whopper of an increase. I have sympathy for those whose income did not increase as property values were increasing. I especially have sympathy for those on a fixed income.  There is however relief for many of these people. Here are three programs that may help many of those people:

  • Tax freezeA tax "freeze" means the homeowner would continue to pay the same taxes they are paying now even if the reappraisal determines they should pay more. Any homeowner who is 65 or older and earns less than $41,660 may be eligible for a tax freeze. 
  • Tax relief: Tax"relief" is reimbursement from the state for some or all of the property taxes a homeowner paid in a given year. Metro may match the state relief. Homeowners who are 65 and older or disabled and earn less than $29,180 a year may be eligible for tax relief. 
  • Tax deferral: Homeowners may be able to defer payment on their taxes until they die or they sell their property. To be eligible, homeowners must be 65 or older or disabled and have a combined income of less than $25,000. 
The deadline for applying for these programs is April 5th. Apply in person at the office of the Metro Trustee, Charlie Caldwell. The office is located at 700 Second Avenue South, Suite 220,
Nashville, the old Howard School location.  Applications must be filed by April 5th each year. New applicants must go in person to the Trustees office  but no appointment is required. There are certain documents one must bring with them. Go the the website of  Office of the Trustee or call that office at (615) 862-6330 to know what to bring. The office is open from 8AM to 4:30PM but applicants need to arrive at the Trustee's office by 3:00PM. Charlie Cardwell is nice man and runs a good office and people in his office are very nice and helpful.

If you think you may be eligible, don't hesitate to apply.  If you have employees or friends or relatives who may be eligible, tell them about these programs.

In my other existence, when I am not a political blogger, I am a housing counselor with a non-profit, HUD-approved housing counseling agency.  If you are making house payments and worried you may not be able to afford your home and need advice about what to do, give me a call.  There are often solutions to avoiding foreclosure and sometimes there is a possibility of getting mortgage payments reduced to  lower payments. Call me for a phone consultation or an appointment. There is no cost to the client for the service I provide. Call Rod Williams 615-850-3453.

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