Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Not only that, but it seems that lately Rhode Island property taxes move in one direction: up. Rhode Island property taxes average 1.53%, which puts the state at the 10th highest property tax rate in the country.
While property tax may be a certainty, there are some steps homeowners can take in the face of a mounting tax bill. One option is to apply for a property assessment freeze. The most common reason for a property tax increase is a reassessment of the property value. In Rhode Island, cities and towns are required to perform a statistical update every third and sixth year, and a full re-evaluation every ninth year. A property assessment freeze prevents a home from being reassessed at a higher value in the future.
Another option is to apply for a property tax freeze. Rhode Island is one of just six states that allows some residents to freeze their property tax rate. To qualify for a Rhode Island property tax freeze, a homeowner must be at least 65 years old and earn an annual income of less than $4,000. Those who have recently become totally disabled may also qualify for a tax freeze. In neighboring Connecticut, the rules are more favorable, allowing any homeowner over the age of 70 to apply for a tax freeze, regardless of income.
If a property tax freeze does not work for you, you may be able to apply for a homestead exception, which reduces the property tax rate by 40%. There are also more specific exemptions for veterans, the elderly, the blind, as well as for those on social security disability. Of course, the homestead exemption only applies to a primary residence, and each person can only claim a single homestead exemption.
Another option is to appeal the reassessment of your home’s value. When a property is reassessed, the city typically uses a formula to arrive at the reassessment value. Of course, this may not take into account certain important aspect of your property, most importantly, the condition. Often, homeowners can successfully dispute the reassessment of their home’s value by presenting documentation of the sales price for other comparable homes, similar homes that are currently for sale, as well as property-specific reasons as to why the assessment is not an accurate reflection of the property’s value.
Are You Dealing with a Rhode Island Property Issue?
If you are currently appealing an increase to your Rhode Island real estate tax, or are currently dealing with another Rhode Island property law issue, the dedicated attorneys at Bilodeau Capalbo can help. At our Rhode Island law firm, we help homeowners, as well as commercial property owners, deal with the complex real estate issues they face. We work hard to take as much off of your plate as we can, so you can continue on with your life. To learn more about how we can help you efficiently resolve your legal matter, and to schedule a free consultation, call 401-300-4055 today.