Tax as­sess­ment fails to note bath­room: Trou­ble?

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Homespot - Broward East - - CAMPBELL&ROSEMURGY -

for over 10 years. It ap­pears that the sec­ond bath­room was added about 30 years ago.

Fi­nally, I am cur­rently re­mod­el­ing my kitchen and pri­mary bath­room. I have all the per­mits for that work. When the county in­spec­tor comes to re­view the progress will he be obliged to re­port the sec­ond bath­room since it isn’t listed? Do in­spec­tors nor­mally check as­sess­ment records and record dis­crep­an­cies? A:

Let’s start by dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing be­tween your prop­erty’s tax as­sess­ment and the many real es­tate sites on the In­ter­net. You should know that most real es­tate sites on the In­ter­net com­pile in­for­ma­tion about your prop­erty from pub­lic records in­clud­ing real es­tate tax as­sess­ment sites.

Given that your home has had two bath­rooms for 30 years and your tax as­ses­sor’s records show your home as hav­ing one bath­room, it stands to rea­son that most web­sites out there will show your home as hav­ing one bath­room.

When you go to list your home for sale, the list­ing bro­ker will go over the de­tails of your home and will in­clude that in­for­ma­tion on the mul­ti­ple list­ing ser­vice (MLS). If you’ve re­cently re­mod­eled your kitchen and base­ment, re­fin­ished the floors and put on a new roof, the MLS can in­di­cate all of those items. The MLS will also in­clude de­tails about your home’s bed­rooms and bath­rooms. It will be at that time that you will mar­ket your home as hav­ing two bath­rooms.

Now, hav­ing said all that, we have to turn to the is­sue of the bath­room that has not been picked up by the tax as­ses­sor’s of­fice. We know that in some parts of the coun­try, tax as­ses­sors will ac­tu­ally make a visual in­spec­tion of a home — both inside and out­side — when a home has had re­cent con­struc­tion or has re­cently been pur­chased. How­ever, in other parts of the coun­try, tax as­ses­sors rarely if ever make house vis­its.

The bad news is that in some ju­ris­dic­tions, tax as­ses­sors have the right to cor­rect prior years’ er­ro­neous as­sess­ments and send the home­owner a bill for un­der­paid real es­tate taxes. Fre­quently the rules gov­ern­ing er­ro­neous as­sess­ments are in­tri­cate, but you could bear that ad­di­tional cost should your lo­cal tax as­ses­sor find out that your as­sess­ment has been in er­ror.

Tax bills are usu­ally made up of com­pli­cated for­mu­las that make math­e­ma­ti­cians smile and or­di­nary cit­i­zens scratch their heads. For ex­am­ple, a tax bill will gen­er­ally start with the as­sessed value of a home: the value a tax as­ses­sor gives to the home. The tax as­ses­sor comes up with that num­ber us­ing var­i­ous fac­tors. Among those fac­tors are the age, lo­ca­tion and size of the home, along with any ameni­ties it has. Among the fac­tors used may be the type of con­struc­tion, the num­ber of floors, lot size, the num­ber of bed­rooms and bath­rooms, and garage size.

The as­ses­sor will also use the sales prices for re­cently sold homes in your neigh­bor­hood. They may also use other cal­cu­la­tions in­clud­ing the cost to re­build or build homes in your area. To some peo­ple, the value given to a home by a tax as­ses­sor might seem to have been plucked out of a hat.

Once your tax as­sess­ment is es­tab­lished, the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity uses it to com­pute a tax rate or uses other fac­tors to ul­ti­mately come up with your ac­tual tax bill.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Kathryn We­ber through her Web site, www.redlo­tuslet­ter.com

(c) 2014 Kathryn We­ber. Dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency, LLC.

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