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Back story:
about 3 years ago (2014) I bought a house on a paved road. In front of my house it was paved but getting there was a different story -- I swear I ran over a small car in one of the potholes. After about 4 months they filled the bad spots with gravel and smoothed it out. (I seems I knew the county commissioner.) When I bought it the county said they were going to repave the next year (2015). Here it is 2016 and they get around to prepare for paving by tearing up and putting down a gravel base. But now that it is all gravel and mudd they do not have any money for the pavement. 
I remember someone talking about property taxes being less for gravel compared to pavement. I have googled for this but can't find anything so I thought I would ask the great FW community - is this true and if so is it just because the decreased value or is there something in the property tax codes. The commission meeting is next Tuesday and I would like to be prepared. Also if it is true I will protest my property taxes but that can't happen until next May. 

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Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the house and land, don't think the road to it has anything to do with it directly, unless it's in the middle of nowhere. Would they reduce your tax if it was on a noisy 3 lane road?

atikovi said:   Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the house and land, don't think the road to it has anything to do with it directly, unless it's in the middle of nowhere. Would they reduce your tax if it was on a noisy 3 lane road?
The initial property tax assessment property value at the beginning of the year is usually based on a pretty simplified computer model that makes no adjustments for differences between various houses (They don't send out licensed appraisers every year and conduct appraisals like when you get a mortgage).  For this reason, many properties will be severely undervalued while others are severely overvalued in the initial estimate for the year,  However, at least in some states (TX examples), the actual property tax is not based on the initial assessment.  You're guaranteed a protest process, and the appraisal district often has several mandates of what they must correct for if brought to their attention, to ensure the property is not taxed for more than real market value or unequally compared to any other properties in the district (Even if the house is already under-assessed vs it's real property value, it is supposed to be corrected to be brought into line with the under-assessed properties).  The type of road, amount of traffic on the street, noise levels, all can have significant effects on real market values.  And the appraisal district's constraints on assessment values is that it is illegal for them to assess any properties over real market value.  And they certainly should always be corrected for, they are required to take any differences between compared properties into effect, not just the # of rooms, sq ft, and made-up garage/driveway estimates.

In TX they are not supposed to be assessed over actual market value, over adjusted comparable house assessed property values, or assessed at a higher than a median rate of a few properties selected by the property owner as compared to their actual market value (easily determined on immediately new sales by the "Sales Price").  If you find sales of like houses on those gravel roads and show they're lower compared to similar houses without the gravel road (or on a 3 lane road, backing up to a main street, edge of neighborhood, etc), they're legally required to reduce to a fair assessment (particularly should be easy if they're on the same street).  Or, if you find a similar house that recently sold for below your tax assessment value, they should lower the assessment on your house.  Or, if you find a dissimilar property that when adjusted to your property is at a lower level, they are required to reduce the assessment value.  Or, if you find properties in your proximity that are assessed below market value, they are required to reduce yours to the same assessment ratio.  Whether they agree to a fair value at step 1 (meeting with "appraiser" who is not a real appraiser and doesn't appraise your property), step 2 (meeting with the "independent" ARB board), or step 3 (lawsuit) will vary.  In reality it's usually not worth the up-front risks/expenses of a lawsuit until you get to the houses in the $Ms (Because 10% of $5k property taxes for a $200k house is only $500.....  And you're not compensated for your own time/effort in step1/2 even if you win, and you're only refunded all your costs for the lawsuit if you win, and aren't even refunded the costs if you settle), so locally they usually screw all the little guys by intentionally and blatantly disregarding the law and then lose nearly 100% of the lawsuits which are 99% from people and corporations with multi-million dollar properties and 1% stubborn people standing on principle rather than making a rational cost/benefit analysis.  YMMV on varying rules in different states, in TX it's not even just a "law", it's part of the state constitution.   Being assessed even 1% over true market value is illegal in the state.

I have partially successfully protested the first year myself, because they gave no push-back on adjusting to the "sales price" from the contract.  Legally they should have set it to that automatically anyway if they don't normally argue it's wrong..  I chose to take that offer rather than going to arb, but I had a list of many recent sales that were much under-assessed vs sale price, so legally they were really supposed to be required to adjust to the median of those ratios I presented -- which would have been ~7% under sales price.  For me it was not worth the expense of time and effort of going through the charade of ARB to start back at square one nor of spending $1000s to sue to reduce my annual property taxes for the single year by less than $300.  The adjustment they did make was around 10% from their robo-assessment and amounted to ~$400-$500 difference in property taxes.

edit:fixed mistakes.  They're still preserved for posterity in quoted posts.  I tried making less wordy and still communicating what I meant to and I failed, sorry it's now a longer post....

Op, what state?

Bend3r said:   
atikovi said:   Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the house and land, don't think the road to it has anything to do with it directly, unless it's in the middle of nowhere. Would they reduce your tax if it was on a noisy 3 lane road?
 

  Wrong, at least depending on the state.  In TX they are not supposed to be assessed over actual market value or over comparable house assessment values.  If you find sales of like houses on those gravel roads and show they're lower compared to similar houses without the gravel road (or on a 3 lane road, backing up to a main street, edge of neighborhood, etc), they're legally required to reduce to a fair assessment (particularly should be easy if they're on the same street).  Or, if you find a similar house that recently sold for below your tax assessment value, they should lower the assessment on your house.  Or, if you find a dissimilar property that when adjusted to your property is at a lower level, they are required to reduce the assessment value.  Or, if you find properties in your proximity that are assessed below market value, they are required to reduce yours to the same assessment ratio.  Whether they agree to a fair value at step 1 (meeting with "appraiser" who is not a real appraiser and doesn't appraise your property), step 2 (meeting with the "independent" ARB board), or step 3 (lawsuit) will vary.  In reality it's usually not worth the up-front risks/expenses of a lawsuit until you get to the houses in the $Ms (Because 10% of $5k property taxes for a $200k house is only $500.....  And you're not compensated for your own time/effort in step1/2 if you win, and you're only refunded all your costs for the lawsuit if you win, and aren't even refunded the costs if you settle), so locally they usually screw all the little guys and then lose nearly 100% of the lawsuits which are 99% from people and corporations with multi-million dollar properties and 1% stubborn people standing on principle rather than making a rational cost/benefit analysis.  YMMV on varying rules in different states, in TX it's not even just a "law", it's part of the state constitution.   Being assessed even 1% over true market value is illegal in the state.
 

  How was that comment wrong?  Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property.  Of course, the condition of the road can affect the value of the house, thus giving the effect of "gravel roads pay less tax", but that doesnt change the fact the property tax is being based on the property's value not the type of road out front.

KS

Glitch99 said:   
Bend3r said:   
atikovi said:   Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the house and land, don't think the road to it has anything to do with it directly, unless it's in the middle of nowhere. Would they reduce your tax if it was on a noisy 3 lane road?
  Wrong, at least depending on the state.  In TX they are not supposed to be assessed over actual market value or over comparable house assessment values.  If you find sales of like houses on those gravel roads and show they're lower compared to similar houses without the gravel road (or on a 3 lane road, backing up to a main street, edge of neighborhood, etc), they're legally required to reduce to a fair assessment (particularly should be easy if they're on the same street).  Or, if you find a similar house that recently sold for below your tax assessment value, they should lower the assessment on your house.  Or, if you find a dissimilar property that when adjusted to your property is at a lower level, they are required to reduce the assessment value.  Or, if you find properties in your proximity that are assessed below market value, they are required to reduce yours to the same assessment ratio.  Whether they agree to a fair value at step 1 (meeting with "appraiser" who is not a real appraiser and doesn't appraise your property), step 2 (meeting with the "independent" ARB board), or step 3 (lawsuit) will vary.  In reality it's usually not worth the up-front risks/expenses of a lawsuit until you get to the houses in the $Ms (Because 10% of $5k property taxes for a $200k house is only $500.....  And you're not compensated for your own time/effort in step1/2 if you win, and you're only refunded all your costs for the lawsuit if you win, and aren't even refunded the costs if you settle), so locally they usually screw all the little guys and then lose nearly 100% of the lawsuits which are 99% from people and corporations with multi-million dollar properties and 1% stubborn people standing on principle rather than making a rational cost/benefit analysis.  YMMV on varying rules in different states, in TX it's not even just a "law", it's part of the state constitution.   Being assessed even 1% over true market value is illegal in the state.

  How was that comment wrong?  Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property.  Of course, the condition of the road can affect the value of the house, thus giving the effect of "gravel roads pay less tax", but that doesnt change the fact the property tax is being based on the property's value not the type of road out front.

  Good callout, appreciate it.  I definitely made some mistakes.  I shouldn't reply when I'm trying to leave the house.  I will attempt to correct my mistakes.
edit:corrected them in the initial response and left the quote here as I wasn't trying to hide the mistakes.

Bend3r said:   
Glitch99 said:   
Bend3r said:   
atikovi said:   Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the house and land, don't think the road to it has anything to do with it directly, unless it's in the middle of nowhere. Would they reduce your tax if it was on a noisy 3 lane road?
  Wrong, at least depending on the state.  In TX they are not supposed to be assessed over actual market value or over comparable house assessment values.  If you find sales of like houses on those gravel roads and show they're lower compared to similar houses without the gravel road (or on a 3 lane road, backing up to a main street, edge of neighborhood, etc), they're legally required to reduce to a fair assessment (particularly should be easy if they're on the same street).  Or, if you find a similar house that recently sold for below your tax assessment value, they should lower the assessment on your house.  Or, if you find a dissimilar property that when adjusted to your property is at a lower level, they are required to reduce the assessment value.  Or, if you find properties in your proximity that are assessed below market value, they are required to reduce yours to the same assessment ratio.  Whether they agree to a fair value at step 1 (meeting with "appraiser" who is not a real appraiser and doesn't appraise your property), step 2 (meeting with the "independent" ARB board), or step 3 (lawsuit) will vary.  In reality it's usually not worth the up-front risks/expenses of a lawsuit until you get to the houses in the $Ms (Because 10% of $5k property taxes for a $200k house is only $500.....  And you're not compensated for your own time/effort in step1/2 if you win, and you're only refunded all your costs for the lawsuit if you win, and aren't even refunded the costs if you settle), so locally they usually screw all the little guys and then lose nearly 100% of the lawsuits which are 99% from people and corporations with multi-million dollar properties and 1% stubborn people standing on principle rather than making a rational cost/benefit analysis.  YMMV on varying rules in different states, in TX it's not even just a "law", it's part of the state constitution.   Being assessed even 1% over true market value is illegal in the state.

  How was that comment wrong?  Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property.  Of course, the condition of the road can affect the value of the house, thus giving the effect of "gravel roads pay less tax", but that doesnt change the fact the property tax is being based on the property's value not the type of road out front.

  Good callout, appreciate it.  I definitely made some mistakes.  I shouldn't reply when I'm trying to leave the house.  I will attempt to correct my mistakes.
edit:corrected them in the initial response and left the quote here as I wasn't trying to hide the mistakes.

  That was quite the elaborate response for being done on your way out the door, even if it was not relevant to the post you were responding to.   For the record, I didn't notice anything you said that was wrong, aside from calling atikovi's post wrong.

Gravel roads tend to be in the boondocks, houses in the boondocks are worth less, thus, taxes are lower.  Is that what you mean?  So yes, if somebody lives in a crappy old house at the end of a gravel road, their taxes will be less than the big house with the cement pond up on them there paved roads.


The only exception would be if you live in certain counties in Maryland.  Here, we have the famous "rain tax."  A component of your property tax is based on the supposed amount of runoff from your property into the Chesapeake Bay.  The tax is determined by the amount of the impervious surface of your property as a percent of the total, and it is determined by using satellite imagery.  Driveways, roofs, patios, outbuildings all count.  There is an accommodation for certain driveway types that are not impervious to water, so maybe OP heard some reference to a gravel driveway not being subject to the rain tax?  You can read more here - link.

Even so, this has nothing to do with the street you live on; we'd only be talking about your driveway.


technically correct
Disclaimer
Glitch99 said:   
uite the elaborate response for being done on your way out the door, even if it was not relevant to the post you were responding to.   For the record, I didn't notice anything you said that was wrong, aside from calling atikovi's post wrong.

  I meant my first reply to the thread was when trying to head out the door, not the corrections .  But yes, the part I had initially bolded from atikovi was technically correct and I missed it when reading it th first time.

Went to commission meeting. They just ran out of money for roads so they are supposed to pave in spring. We'll see.

dcwilbur, for residential properties the "rain tax" is usually a fixed amount in Maryland. The exception is for large commercial properties which consider the associated parking lots. Also, its worth pointing out that impervious surfaces are a real problem. While the geography of Ellicott City is problematic, the recent historic flooding were in no small part caused by lots of impervious surfaces at the top of the hill which allowed water to flow, unimpeded into the funnel that is Main Street.

hpmax said:   dcwilbur, for residential properties the "rain tax" is usually a fixed amount in Maryland. The exception is for large commercial properties which consider the associated parking lots. Also, its worth pointing out that impervious surfaces are a real problem. While the geography of Ellicott City is problematic, the recent historic flooding were in no small part caused by lots of impervious surfaces at the top of the hill which allowed water to flow, unimpeded into the funnel that is Main Street.
Sorry, but you are not correct about the calculation of the rain tax.

Link  

I think they mean the cost to maintain gravel roads is lower, so the county doesn't need as much taxes to maintain them. But rarely is that tax specifically charged to the local homeowners.



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