Letter: Policy of spot assessments is improper

Posted 12/6/19

To the editor:

Rhode Island law grants broad authority and discretion to tax assessors to make real property valuations and set tax assessments. That authority, however, cannot be exercised via a …

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Letter: Policy of spot assessments is improper

Posted

To the editor:

Rhode Island law grants broad authority and discretion to tax assessors to make real property valuations and set tax assessments. That authority, however, cannot be exercised via a policy that is discriminatory in application and unfair in effect. 

Certifying the valuation of properties using separate methods of appraisal — one based on statistical mass appraisal and the other on sales price – is discriminatory. These approaches treat taxpayers differently. A majority of property owners are taxed based on the process of mass appraisal using common data, standardized methodology, and statistical analyses and relying upon equations, tables, and schedules developed through mathematical analysis of market data. A minority of property owners are taxed based upon the singular factor of the price paid as stated in the deed by which they acquired title to their property.

The effect of this discriminatory policy of valuation is substantially disproportionate assessments among similarly situated properties. This disparity subjects certain taxpayers to an unfair and unequal share of the tax burden of the town in violation of the Fair Distribution of Burdens Clause of the state constitution.

Simply put, the policy of spot assessing recently sold properties at sales price and most other properties via statistical mass appraisal violates the uniformity requirement governing assessment and results in inequitable distribution of the burdens of local property taxation and financing the operation of the town.

Very truly yours,

Richard Hentz

Barrington

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