Property taxes; many people have them, and seemingly everyone hates them. (If you know someone who loves property taxes, please check in on them.) The bane of any homeowners existence, property taxes are a necessary evil of home ownership. They can dictate everything from your budget to the location in which you choose to live, and for investors, the annual tax can be a dealbreaker for a prospective purchase. Property taxes are boring, draining, and no fun, so why are we talking about them?
Because for the tax year of 2022, there will be no revisions. And for most people, that means one year of solace in the battle against the ever-increasing taxes.
The city announced in September that due to the pandemic, there would be no new tax assessments for the tax year of 2022; the tax-value assessments of 2021 will hold instead. For most homeowners, that means that the most recent previous tax-value assessment of the property will hold for an extra year, as opposed to being revised yearly like it normally would be. In a year that has been anything but certain, homeowners across the city are getting some much needed stability.
“We appreciate the hard work of the OPA and the BRT over the past five months to normalize operations affected by the need to work remotely,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “I’m certain that opting to leave property values at current levels is the prudent action in light of a whole host of factors.”
A move like this certainly begs the question of why it’s happening. Short answer; the pandemic.
If we’re to search for a longer answer, we can start by diving into some of the recently changed protocols over at City Hall this year. For one, the Office of Property Assessments, like most of the offices City Hall, have been working from home. The decentralization and adjustment to a new way of working has resulted in a greatly decreased efficiency- just ask anyone who’s tried to run a title search in the last nine months.
With OPA on the sidelines, you’d think that it would be rather easy to automate such a task, but as luck would have it, the previously-planned recalibration and upgrading of the assessment system was scheduled to begin in April of 2020. Needless to say, that did not proceed as planned, leaving the project in limbo for the time being.
Mayor Kenney went on to detail the suspension of the planned upgrade. “It will allow operations that are currently delayed to catch up and will allow the OPA to ready the new CAMA system for a full reassessment next year—by which point I sincerely hope we will be past the effects of COVID-19. We owe it to taxpayers to ensure we are making property assessments as accurate as possible, and this decision will help OPA accomplish that.”
While the suspension of reassessments will mean stagnant property taxes for most homeowners, there are some exceptions. Properties with expiring abatements, new construction, renovations, subdivisions, consolidations, or errors in prior year assessments will not be exempt from the move.