Assessor: Mail in this card | RecordCourier.com

Assessor: Mail in this card

by Susie Vasquez

Douglas County Assessor Doug Sonnemann is worried homeowners might throw away a chance to save money.

County officials will be mailing verification cards to all residents in an effort to comply with the recently-legislated tax cap.

Homeowners should fill out the verification card and return it to the assessor’s office to get the 3 percent tax cap on their property taxes.

“What we’re really concerned about is people might throw them away,” Sonnemann said. “Then they could miss out on the lower rate. Please don’t ignore us on this one. We’ll save you some money.”

Residents should start receiving the notices shortly after the May 15 mailing date.

Anyone who doesn’t receive a notice should contact the Douglas County assessor’s office before the June deadline, Sonnemann said.

Signed into law April 6, Assembly Bill 489 provides a partial abatement of taxes by applying a 3 percent cap on annual property tax increases for primary residences.

Each year, Nevada county assessors will verify which homes are owner-occupied and which are rentals. The latter will be subject to a higher tax rate, depending on a number of factors, Sonnemann said.

“Low-income rentals will also be capped at 3 percent,” Sonnemann said. “Those rentals above Housing and Urban Development’s low-income guidelines will be taxed at 7.11 percent.”

Agricultural land will be taxed at the 7.11 percent rate, but rancher’s owner-occupied homes will get the 3 percent rate. Commercial, industrial and vacant land will all be taxed at the 7.11 percent rate, Sonnemann said.

Starting July 1, the increase will boost local property tax revenues for the 2005-06 fiscal year.

Douglas officials estimate an overall increase of 6 percent in property tax revenues, depending in large part on how many rentals there are in Douglas County, Sonnemann said.

“We think there are a lot of rentals and second homes. We don’t really have a feel for the percentages,” he said. “But our real concern is that people will throw them away and miss out on the lower rate.”

Douglas County is sending out 20,000 cards, and it’s anyone’s guess, as to how many are owner occupied and how many will respond, Sonnemann said.

The mailing is costing Douglas County taxpayers about $20,000. Statewide, costs are at an estimated $750,000 and climbing, Sonnemann said.

“The Legislature could fund some or all of this mailing,” he said. “They didn’t want to put the burden on the counties.”

Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.