by the Tax Professor
With so much Tax ‘mis-information’ being trafficked in the Fishwrap lately – the ECT folks thought it was time to cut through their BS, and give it to you straight with this Lesson about understanding your Eagle County Property Taxes.
FACT: Simply Put – Eagle County Property Taxes are in reality a PERMANENT TAX LIEN against PROPERTY both Commercial and Residential.
FACT: When a Taxing Authority asks you to vote for their Permanent Property Tax increase – they are ACTUALLY asking you to Permanently Attach to property you own (and your neighbors by the way) an additional Permanent Tax Lien, usually inflicted against your Property by raising an existing Property Tax “Mill Levy”.
NOTE: If you the Property Tax payer…die, or are (God forbid) Foreclosed on…that Property Tax obligation STAYS WITH the Property FOREVER – and any new Property Owner will be legally obligated to Pay no matter how many Tax years in arrears that Property might be! Further, that Property Tax obligation must be paid in full BEFORE legal title to that Property can be transferred to any new owner. This is why (in some cases) the printed “cost” of that property may appear to be a Real Estate buyers (bargain?) – you’d better first check on any (back) Property Taxes there might be – before you sign on the bottom line.
The Tax Mans Miracle: Local Taxing Authorities LOVE THIS. Anytime your Property Values increase the Taxing Authorities that “own” that Mill Levy placed against your Property – AUTOMATICALLY get more money. Over simplified…the gist is…the Mill Levy is just a mathematical (multiplier) against a number (your property’s valuation) that results in a bigger Tax Bill for you – and more cash for them!
FACT: Regardless of how mis-informed Fishwrap letter writers are…the FACT IS, no legally elected (Taxing Authority Board) cannot legally “obligate” future elected Boards – in terms of how future Boards will/won’t adjust (up or down) their Mill Levy in future years! Don’t be fooled by promises that somehow a future Mill Levy “will” be adjusted lower – there simply is no legally binding agreement, nor Statutory Authority to do this. Period.
KNOW THIS FACT: Once an additional Mill Levy is voted in place – Taxpayers have lost all legal control over adjusting that Mill Levy. The only defense a Taxpayer has – at that point in time – is to run for elected office – for that Board, and vote (once on that board) about how to (or not) adjust that Mill Levy up or down.