|Address:||54 Hill Street|
||Shelton CT, 06484|
|Telephone:||(203) 924-1555 ext. 1500|
|Hours:||8:00 A.M. - 5:30 P.M.|
As prescribed by General Statutes the Assessor's Department annually files the Grand List, which is the valuation and assessment of real property, business personal property, and motor vehicles for municipal taxation purposes.
Programs and Exemptions
PROGRAMS AND EXEMPTIONS AVAILABLE THROUGH THE
SHELTON ASSESSOR’S OFFICE
ELDERLY AND TOTALLY DISABLED HOMEOWNERS PROGRAM
State and local programs are available to homeowners who are 65 years of age,and to homeowners, regardless of age, who are totally disabled. The program grants credit against tax payments.
Income limits for the program are set annually by the Office of Policy and Management. Income includes wages, pension, Social Security payments, and interest on savings.
Applications are accepted in the Assessor’s Office from February 1st to May 15th.
ELDERLY HOMEOWNERS FREEZE PROGRAM
In October 2007 the Board of Alderman approved by municipal ordinance an Elderly Homeowners Freeze program. To be eligible one must be 70 years of age. The income limits for the Local Freeze Program are the same as the income limits for the State and Local Homeowners and Totally disabled Programs. If one meets the guidelines, the taxes are frozen. The Local Elderly Freeze Program is in addition to the State and Local Elderly Homeowners Program. Applications are accepted between February 1st and May 15th each year.
ELDERLY AND TOTALLY DISABLED RENTERS PROGRAM
Partial refund of rent and utility bills, by a check from the state, is available to renters who are 65 years old, and to renters (no age requirement), who are totally disabled.
Income limits for the program are set annually by the Office of Policy and Management.
Applications are taken in the Assessor’s Office from May 15th to September 15th.
Veterans who served in the Armed Forces of the U.S. during wartime, or who have a disability rating from the Veterans’ Administration, and have filed their honorable discharge papers in the Shelton City/Town Clerk’s Office, may qualify for a veteran exemption off the assessment of their property. The filing deadline for discharge papers is September 30th.
There are different programs that a veteran may be eligible for, and the filing period for the applications with the Assessor’s Office is from February to October 1st.
A person who is legally blind, and has provided to the Assessor’s Office a certificate from a qualified medical practitioner to the fact, can receive a state and local exemption on property.
TOTALLY DISABLED EXEMPTION
An exemption on property can be granted to an individual who receives permanent full disability benefits under Social Security, or under any federal, state, or local government retirement or disability plan. The person must present, to the Assessor’s Office, a certificate of disability, from the agency that grants the benefits.
In addition to the filing of the Grand List, it is the responsibility of the department to administer all programs mandated under State Law; State and Local benefits for veterans, totally disabled, the blind and elderly homeowners and renters.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Why Conduct Revaluation?
It is the Law. The State of Connecticut, under the provisions of Section 12-62 of the General Statutes, requires a revaluation of all real estate every five years. Legislation mandates that Shelton conducts a revaluation for the October 1, 2011 Grand List. There is a growing awareness that the local property taxes have become a significant part of the expenses in owning property. Keeping this in mind, revaluations are required to insure property owners of uniformity in property valuations. A revaluation sets new assessed values on a current basis, for use by the Assessor.
A successful revaluation requires a significant amount of time spent on careful research to assure that the new values are accurate and that all property owners will pay ONLY their FAIR SHARE of the property tax burden.
2. What is Meant By "Revaluation?"
The revaluation program involves the reappraisal of all real property in the city in order to bring about uniformity in property valuations and to assure all property owners that they are paying only their fair share of the cost of community services. Revaluation is NOT intended to raise revenues. Its purpose is to value all properties by the same standards at the same point in time.
3. Why is Revaluation Needed?
It has been five years since the last revaluation of all real estate in Shelton. Meanwhile constantly changing economic conditions have caused inequities to develop. The solution to this problem is to reappraise all real estate – bringing assessment records up to date with present day values.
4. What Kind of Inequities Exist Now?
Just the normal “hills and valleys” which occur in any community over a period of time. Neighborhoods change, and the economic climate changes, meaning that some properties have become overvalued or undervalued when compared to comparable market properties. The revaluation returns properties to current market values and to the fair-share basis.
5. What is Fair Market Value?
A legal standard defined by the courts is the price established between a willing buyer and a willing seller, taking into consideration all the uses to which the property is adapted.
6. Who Determines The Value Of My Property?
People do. You, and the person who sold it to you, and the person who is willing to buy it from you create the value. People make the market, not the Assessor.
During a revaluation, it is the Assessor’s and the Assessor’s staff’s job to research and discover values.
A single property sale transaction, however, would not be the sole determination of your property value. All valid sales in a given neighborhood are used as guidelines. In effect, a revaluation does the same thing that you would do as a prospective buyer, by examining all the features of a property before applying values.
A few of the other factors considered are: local market conditions, size and quality of construction, age of building, improvements to or deterioration of neighborhood, zoning, and so on.
7. Isn't Fair Market Value What I Paid For My Property?
Not always. Some people will pay more than fair market value for their property. Others may have bought their property at a bargain price, and, others may have purchased the property years ago when prices and values were considerably different. The true test is what your property is worth in October 2011 in comparison to other like properties.
8. Can My Share Of The Tax Burden Go Down?
Yes. If market values in your area have not risen as much as in other areas since the last revaluation, or, if your property is currently overvalued when compared with like properties, your share of the tax burden would be reduced as a result of revaluation.
9. When Will The New Assessments Be Effective?
The new assessments will be placed on the October 1, 2011 Grand List from which tax bills will be generated and due on July 1, 2012.
10. If My Reassessment Notice Doesn't Tell How Much I will Have To Pay, Or How High Taxes Might Go, What Good Is It?
The primary purpose of revaluation notices is to show the assessment determined so that you can have the opportunity to review and insure that no errors have been made. Questions of value can be reviewed, explained, and justified. Adjustments, corrections, and concerns will be noted.
Remember, a revaluation establishes and addresses value, not taxes. Revaluations are important because the amount of municipal taxes is based on the assessed value of property – Formula: Assessment x Mill Rate = Taxes.
11. How Are Mill Rates Established?
Except where otherwise determined by law, mill rates are established by dividing the budget to be raised by local taxes by the total taxable assessments in the city.
12. Why Can't Someone Tell Me What The New Rate Will Be And What My Taxes Will Be?
Until a total Grand List, including all new values, is completed, and a new budget is adopted, no one can say what the mill rate or your tax bill will be.
A fact to consider, however, is that with the downward or upward adjustment of the mill rate at revaluation, the tax bill on motor vehicles could increase or decrease. Remember since the 2006 revaluation the real estate assessments have been 70% of 2006 market value, and have remained that way for the past five years until the 2011 revaluation. But this is not the case for motor vehicles. A motor vehicle is annually assessed at 70% of current average retail value. When the mill rate is reduced, one will pay less in Shelton on motor vehicles. When the mill rate increases, one will pay more.
In other words, consider the total municipal tax bill – real estate and motor vehicles – and then look at the impact of revaluation.
13. Who Sets My Assessment And What Can I Do If I Think That It Is Wrong?
The Assessor and staff arrive at the assessed value. If you believe that your assessment is wrong, the first step is to contact the Assessor’s Office. Questions and discussion can be clarified through a telephone call. A meeting or informal hearing might be necessary. If so, you will be given an appointed time to come into the Assessor’s Office. This is the proper time and place to correct any errors and miscalculations.
A member of the Assessor’s staff will review your property records, and necessary adjustments will be made if you show that an error has been made in describing your property, which significantly affects its value.
If there is a significant difference between the data on your property records and the state of your property, the Assessor’s Office will schedule an inspection and review of your property. In some cases, where the person appealing presents factual evidence, an adjustment can be made without additional inspection and review.
14. If After The Informal Meeting I still Disagree With The Assessment, What Is The Next Step?
The next step is a formal hearing before the Board of Assessment Appeals. Make inquiry at the Assessor’s Office for the meeting dates and proper procedure to follow in order to have an appointment with the board.
Any evidence that you may have affecting your assessment should be presented to the Board of Assessment Appeals. Should a disagreement remain after the Board of Assessment Appeals hearing, an appeal to the courts under Section 12-118 of the Connecticut State Statutes is the next and last step.
15. Do I Still Have To Pay My Taxes If I Appeal Under Section 12-118?
Yes, definitely. Section 12-118 requires payment of at least 75% of taxes due, or 90% if the assessment exceeds $500,000, even if appealed. Otherwise, penalties and interest are added to unpaid taxes due. Any judgment in your favor requires a refund of taxes paid in excess of any reduced assessment.
16. Is There Any Disadvantage To Me If I Appeal?
No. In fact, the Assessor’s Office encourages you to review your assessments and appeal IF you sincerely question the value. The Assessor’s Office will see that each taxpayer is satisfied within the limits set by state statute, and at the same time assure that assessments are on a fair share basis. In the great majority of cases, when the Assessor finds that the taxpayer is right, an adjustment is made immediately. The Assessor would like to satisfy each property owner, but has a duty to all taxpayers in the city to be fair and equitable, and work within the guidelines of Connecticut State Statutes.
17. What About Exemptions and Elderly Programs?
State statutes provide exemptions for veterans, the blind, and totally disabled. If you now have an exemption, it will be automatically deducted at tax billing time. For those who do not have one, but feel that they could qualify for an exemption, make inquiry at the Assessor’s Office.
Those elderly on the Homeowners Program will not lose their benefits at revaluation, as long as they meet the requirements of the program and maintain the biennial filing. For information on how to get on the Homeowners Program, one can call the Assessor’s Office.