Some homes taxed differently than others |

Some homes taxed differently than others

by Richard A. Howdle

Editor’s Note: The following was written to Douglas County’s representatives in the Nevada Legislature. Assembly Bill 489 was approved in 2005 to cap skyrocketing home values for tax purposes. Homes built after 2005, like Mr. Howdle’s, were assessed at full value, thus explaining the difference in the tax bill. For more information, visit and click on tax cap FAQ.

In spite of the fact that the value of homes in Nevada and all states has gone down every year for the last four to five years, the property tax continues to go up each year.

Our home values are at 40 percent of what they were five years ago and your method of determining tax has increased our property tax by 15 to 20 percent.

Two items I have problems with: 1) Property taxes going up in spite of decrease in value of homes. This appears to have something to do with an average annual inflation rate and/or the average annual increase in cost of materials, and 2) Large discrepancy of tax/SF in the homes. This appears to have something to do with the age of the dwelling.

Article 10 of the NV Constitution states: “The legislature shall provide by law a uniform and equal rate of assessment and taxation, and shall prescribe such regulations as shall secure a just valuation for taxation of all property,”

By my reasoning your method of taxing is not just and certainly not uniform and equal.

The Legislature is in process of forming SJR 7, which proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to limit the total amount of property taxes that may be levied on real property.

In the draft of SJR 7, It appears that there is an attempt to decrease rates in a period of disinflation (recession). However you are talking about measuring with “Inflation rates” and “the Consumer Price Index.” These items are related to consumer goods and construction materials, have nothing to do with value of homes andproperty after the construction phase and initial purchase. This resolution as presently drafted would do nothing to lower taxes; in fact the taxes will continue to increase. For your information the inflation rate varies between 1 to 4 percent monthly all year long and the average Consumer Price Index has gone from 180 in 2002 to over 224 in 2011.

These values show little response to the state of the economy whether in a recession or good times. How you can get a tax decrease in a recession with these two items is beyond me? They are not related to home values in anyway.

Another item of concern, it appears that new homes are taxed at a much higher rate than older homes; my home built in 2008 had a rate of $1.59 per square foot in 2008, another home built in 2001 had a rate of $0.96 per square foot in 2008. Be aware that new homes have already paid in excess of $16,000 for fees to the county agencies, they pay corporate taxes, Social Security, unemployment and sales taxes of the contractor and realtor and financial fees at time of permitting/buying. This seems completely unfair.

You are to take an in-depth look at methods for determining the base value (taxable value). The method should be applicable to recession periods as well as good times. Upon entering into a recession the tax rate and base value should be locked or cease to expand and for each year in a recession the taxable value be decreased based upon some method of measuring home sales of the previous year, get rid of the apparent method of determining value based upon construction cost. Be fair and just.

The local governments should also cap and/or reduce their spending and services, just as we the public have to do. During a recession, the people’s income is fixed, is reduced or they become un-employed, yet the cost of goods and services continue to rise. The state/county should reflect the same; reduce taxes, manpower and services.

Home values and taxable values should revert back to the year 2002 (this is about where home values stand now). The state and counties should reimburse or give credit to the property owners for excessive taxes applied during the ongoing recession.

Richard A. Howdle is a Gardnerville Ranchos resident.