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> Nh Tax Appraiser Lawsuit
Tawfik Ahdab
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 08:18 AM
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Fighting for their homes

By Joe Adler
jadler@seacoastonline.com


PORTSMOUTH - A lawsuit claiming the unconstitutionality of a state law that punishes residents for not allowing tax appraisers into their home has refueled the debate over yearly property valuations by local and state governments.
Four New Hampshire residents and the Washington-based Institute for Justice filed suit last week in federal court against the New Hampshire Board of Tax and Land Appeals over a 1994 law that allows officials to obtain a search warrant and deny any property tax appeals if a homeowner refuses entry to an appraiser.

In the lawsuit, the four residents - Tony and Alicia Leka of Hudson, and Phillip Smith and Anthony Stanizzi of Hollis - argue that the law violates their rights under the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees the right against unreasonable search and seizure.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/08302004/news/34894.htm

Bill St. Laurent, president of the Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers, said it was unreasonable to force property owners to let in strangers to appraise the interior of their homes. All the appraisers need to see, he said, is if there is an addition to the house in order to determine square footage.

"They should be able to tell that from the street," said St. Laurent, a former city councilor.

"You should not have to let someone in your home that you wish not to have come in your home. Thatís a personal thing. We have got to stop taking rights away from people in this country."

The residents suing the stateís Board of Tax and Land Appeals say they are willing to discuss their homes with assessors and show them public documents related to the property, and they are also open to inspections of their homesí exteriors.

But their decision not to grant assessors entry inside their homes has all but blocked them from pursuing appeals of their property tax assessments. [QUOTE]

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Terrel L. Shields
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 08:31 AM
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We are constantly asked to give up things guaranteed by the Constitution. The Right to practice religion has been twisted to mean the right to be free of religion. The right to bear arms is being perverted to mean the right to carry a regulated gun with proper papers for the sole purpose of legal hunting. I understand why people feel violated. I hope these people win. In the 19th century most property taxes were declared by the homeowner. No appraiser involved. The property tax is ill suited in a modern society for raising money for schools. A broader tax base is needed. Property taxes should only support basic infrastructure like classrooms, etc. Wages and materials should be paid for out of other funds. The interior inspection is a way to jack up values for the purpose of increasing taxes without a vote of the people.
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Mark Keutzer
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 09:20 AM
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Right or wrong? I guess that's depends on who's ox is being gored. If I was a neighbor of some property owner who happened to have a multi-million dollar home and refused to allow an accurate assessment of the value, I wouldn't want to pay for the court fight vs. the stubborn SOB. So maybe change it from "no appeals" to the loser pays for the court battle. Then let the owners roll the dice.

I don't see much difference between this and our buddies at the IRS. About anytime they choose, they can have you bring in your financial life history and go over it line by line. Much more inconvenient and invasive than allowing someone 10 minutes to walk through your home. There are no "absolutes" guaranteed in the constitution. The rights of life, liberty, free speech, to keep and bear arms, etc. are all tempered by the concept of "for the common good".

I'll bet the homeowners will lose on the inspection issue but will get back their right to appeal. Many state constitutions have provisions that base property tax on the value of the property. How else can the value be determined without an accurate inspection? (I don't think a 2055 ext. qualifies as an accurate representation of value)

This post has been edited by Mark Keutzer on Aug 30 2004, 09:21 AM
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Jim Plante
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 09:38 AM
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One of the reasons governments ot all levels get away with this is because of a general lack of education even among the better educated of us.

Take Mark's assertion that the IRS can make you bring in your financial life history for example: Not true. They can demand substantiation of any deduction taken, as is proper. The one time I got a Taxpayer Compliance Measurement Program summons I simply refused, told them what the law required me to do, demanded that they state by return mail which of my deductions they wanted substantiated, and advised them that the audit would be tape recorded. They settled for substantiation of two deductions (commodities trading losses and employee business expenses), and that the audit would be conducted in their office instead of in my business.

The issue of "rights" is a fighting issue; they belong only to the "belligerent claimant in person." (Some supreme court case I can't remember right now.) If you bend over and grease up every time some piss-ant bureaucrat barks, you deserve what you get. But I've found that it only requires one or two trips to the mat for them to decide that leaving you alone is less trouble.

If it were my case, I think I'd prosecute the assessor for criminal violation of 18 USC 242: Deprivation of rights under color of law. Big difference between a criminal prosecution and a lawsuit. That statute states, in pertinent part, "Any person who deprives a citizen of a consitutional or statutory right under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom..." is subject to a $1000 fine and a year in the slammer per count. You prosecute individuals, not agencies, so even if the law stays on the books, it'll be a cold day in hell before another bureaucrat tries to get into his house. Works on IRS Revenue Officers, too. Attitudes change quickly once service is effected.
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george foster
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 09:58 AM
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NH has no income tax or sales tax. They gotta get the dough for the public infrastructure from somewhere.

These protestors are probably transplanted free-loading, government-pensioned, MAZZHOLES who don't want to pay any sort of levy for anything.





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Jim Plante
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 10:12 AM
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QUOTE (George Foster said...)
NH has no income tax or sales tax. They gotta get the dough for the public infrastructure from somewhere.
Then let'em get it legally.
QUOTE
These protestors are probably transplanted free-loading, government-pensioned, MAZZHOLES who don't want to pay any sort of levy for anything
I'd love to see your supporting data. Maybe they just want the rights they were born with, and have the cojones to fight for them.

Your response reminds me of the general hue and cry after Miranda: "This decision hamstrings the police!" Yep! Sure did, didn't it? Our jails are nearly empty, because a poor hard-working cop just ain't able to arrest anyone any more.
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mike neff
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 10:13 AM
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I hope them Yankees keep up the good fight. Our ad valorem tax system is a flawed concept from the get go! How does the value of my house relate to the amount of city services that I use?

There is actually an inverse effect. The people who pay the most taxes, use the least services. Many of their kids go to private schools, they are in pay as you go recreation leagues, have summer homes and don't use the public beaches.

I know nobody will ever do the study or at least not show it publicly. I'll bet all the tea in China that the 20% who pay the least use over 75% of the budget derived from these taxes.

What to do? Let the municipality pass a budget and divide it by the # of residents in the taxing area. Let's say it comes to 1,000 a person. Now everyone is paying equal for the equal opportunity to use the public facilities. Budget runs short, you charge a user fee to close the shortfall.

The property tax is simply double or triple taxation on people who are producing the wealth in this country. The business owner pays taxes, you pay payroll taxes and now because you bought property you get to pay another tax.

Time to dump the old English way of doing it and try something new and more fair.

I feel much better now, thanks.
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Andrew Picarsic
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 10:14 AM
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Thats an interesting point you have made Mr Jim,

Reminds me of social workers recently bargeing in and taking children without a court order. They brought a law officer who had to stay outside because he did not have probable cause that a crime was being committed. The social pigs acted on an anonymous tip.

Later a district court judge ruled in favor of the plaintive,(social services). Mecklenburg. The most interesting parts of this is two-fold.

1. The action by Mecklenburg social services took place in a Gaston county!

2. The whole process was purposely and deliberatly kept away from Criminal court to avoid RIGHTS violations of the defendants.

Dont ever think government beaurcrats will not abuse there power!
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Jim Plante
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 10:29 AM
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Andy, don't get me started, now. The only people on this planet who are more worthy of contempt than 1980's vintage revenue officers are social workers. The ones I've encountered have been from the shallow end of the gene pool; they are social workers because nobody could train them to say "Want fries wit' dat?"

Had one, a juvenile intensive probation officer, who told my son (sentenced to probation, which was less than he deserved) "I can come into your house at any time, day or night, and check to see if you're doing right." I spoke up advised him that if he crossed my threshold without consent, I would put a bullet through his brain, if he had one, just to see if my pistol still worked. He went to talk to the judge, who told him that, yes, I could do that. Ruined his whole week. (N.B.: In some northern states, I'd have gone straight to jail for that statement. Legal in TN, though.)
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Ray Miller
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 10:33 AM
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What can I say, I vote in each and every election and see no change, I go to public meetings and voice my opinion and see no change, I file complaints with goverment agencies and see no change, I write letters to both my state and federal reps. and see no change.

I have some how managed to survive, a war, an exwife, a 1/2 exwife, mean cattle, a few broncs, a couple of auto/truck accidents (not my fault), bunches of bar fights and I see no chage.

I believe in freedom and feel we have lost many of our God given rights over the last 40 years due to goverment control.

But yet I still think this is the best country to live in.

Hope they win.
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Otis Key
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 11:03 AM
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Jim - you make an excellent point and out here in the SW it's the same rule - one of the reasons I moved out here was because of the fact that I stood a lesser chance of getting arrested on a false charge. That's the way it was 30 years ago. However, it's catching up to us - thanks to the people from California who are moving here who did not like what they had done to that state and are now attempting to change us to their ways "back home". It's taking them longer than they like. ;) ;) We're a little bit hard headed out here.

Ray - Sir - I agree and have been there myself, writing, yelling, voting, ducking, etc. I don't see a change, except higher taxes and more laws taking away more of our rights. However, how do you have 1/2 an exwife? :shrug: :shrug: Never mind. :rainfro: :rainfro:

I wish them luck on the lawsuit, but - they're throwing away good money after a bad idea. I wouldn't expect them to win. FWIW. Keep us informed - it could make for an interesting snowball effect if they should get lucky enough.
:peace:
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Terrel L. Shields
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 04:32 PM
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QUOTE
How else can the value be determined without an accurate inspection?
Look at appraisals we do. Even with interior inspections, there can be 20-30% difference in values. I even had a county appraiser admit they were told to "appraise agressively" by the assessor when I served on the Board of Equalization. We ended up lowering 3,000 valuations one by one with the board split into three groups hearing appeals every 15 min. from 9 am to 3:30 pm from Aug 1 - Nov 1. What a nightmare! How many people just sucked up this screwing and went on? Tons. What other tax "guesses" the value that the tax is based on? Did the clerk down at Wally World guess how much sales tax you should pay? (oops, forgot NH does not like Wal-Mart, they prefer to get screwed & how much do NH residents spend out of state shopping at Wal-Mart and paying tax in that state? Why wouldn't NH want to have a sales tax? New Hampshire residents are paying one anyway when they leave the state.) Not an income, not a sales tax. NH doesn't want these? Then charges some nightmare property tax? Outrageous fees for car inspection, etc. etc.

Secondly, without an appraiser, only an investigator or two, the same taxes could be raised from the same sources by applying a sales tax to house sales and a tax on mortgages. No personal property no real property appraisal required. 3% sales tax and 3% tax on mortgage (You borrower $100,000, $3000 goes to state in the mortgage. Auto loan. $20,000 loan after trade in, $600 tax. Simple, based on an exact number, and will generate as much revenue as property tax without sending out a single person to look at the property. Elderly usually have their house paid off, so they get a built in tax break. The burden shifts to younger and wealthier people. No more people protesting $500,000 valuations on property they owe $600,000 on.

QUOTE
how do you have 1/2 an exwife?
I had a wife that was 1/2 wit. Does that count? My first one is a prison pyscologist and my second one needed one.
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Lee Ann
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 04:57 PM
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QUOTE (Terrel L. Shields @ Aug 30 2004, 03:32 PM)
the same taxes could be raised from the same sources by applying a sales tax to house sales and a tax on mortgages. No personal property no real property appraisal required. 3% sales tax and 3% tax on mortgage (You borrower $100,000, $3000 goes to state in the mortgage. Auto loan. $20,000 loan after trade in, $600 tax. Simple, based on an exact number, and will generate as much revenue as property tax without sending out a single person to look at the property.

:rainfro: and were you thinkin that the welathier folk would honestly fess up and tell teh REAL price they paid? C'mon Ter, I know you are brighter than your ex.

Check with that prison shrink as to which groups are most likely (and by which percentages) to lie through thier white-capped teeth if it would save them a buck or five...

Kickbacks to sellers to aid in THIER collusion.

Oh yeah one or tow investigators should be able to stay RIGHT on top of that plan :cool: you betcha :rainfro: :D :rainfro:

{extreme sarcasm alert}

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Ray Miller
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 06:02 PM
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Ottis,


It was not hard for me to end up with a half a wife. Never married her, but darn sure had to DIVORCE her.

Some day when I write my book about life or I am in New Mexico, having a beer with you I will tell you the story. It takes place between Grants, Demming, and Taylor, AZ.

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Terrel L. Shields
Posted: Aug 30 2004, 08:54 PM
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Lee ann said
QUOTE
the welathier folk would honestly fess up and tell teh REAL price they paid?
Thou in the hinderland of non-disclosure do not have the threat of jail for applying the incorrect deed stamp to your deed that we have here.

Our courthouse records rarely have the wrong amount posted. A tax would give them an incentive, but the assessor could be empowered to investigate suspicious stamps, such as low sales prices recorded, exchanges, etc. Cross referencing mortgaged amounts vs sales price is a good clue. A $400,000 mtg on a $200,000 house with 4,800 SF might be a real tip off. Maybe it would take more than 2 considering they are govment employees. Our county passed a dog leash law several years ago, we now spend $250,000 on 2 dogcatchers in high tech dog catching wagons to not catch dogs.....been in my trash twice this month and the nearest house is 800 yd. away.

Ray said
QUOTE
Grants, Demming
That's a pretty lonely stretch of road twixt one and tother. Couldn't just kinda leav'er along side the road and run away, or maybe bury her in an ice cave south of Grants?
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