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Reader Opinion: Understanding taxes

We have received the annual property tax statement including the annual notice of understanding the property tax process. From experience understanding the process does vary. Some examples below.

I obtained a local building permit for a small cabin. The next property valuation reflected the value listed on the building permit. The following year the property valuation increased again by the value the building permit. When I pointed out the previous year's statement indicated the cabin value they said they just discovered I built a cabin and then lowered the repeat of the building permit value.

In another appeal I was told what the value of house next door sold for and therefore my value went up. I asked the new neighbor what was the purchase price and it was several thousand less than what government said. Appealed the following year, point out the wrong numbers used and my value was lowered.

When I questioned another property value increase I was told to sell the property and then I would know the value. Wonder if a staff person wanted the property.

One day a person walked up the cabin. It was the assessor. Several questions were asked. First, you have a two bedroom cabin? No, just one room. Second, you have electricity? No, power is three-quarters of a mile away. Third, you have indoor plumbing? No, and the record even showed the little building with the quarter moon in the door. Fourth, you have running water? No, and I asked if that was me running from the hand pump into the cabin with bucket. The eraser was well used that day to correct the property records.

There are other examples of errors made by government. Depending on experience, understanding the property tax process does vary.

Kent Rees