Residents Should Expect Higher Tax Bills

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It is no secret that car buyers are experiencing sticker shock. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a chip shortage affecting the production of new cars, trucks and SUVs. Rental companies and fleet buyers stopped selling older vehicles since they couldn’t acquire new vehicles. The new car shortage sent new car prices to record highs and pushed would-be new car shoppers to the used car market. Last year, some vehicles had slight increases in value but this year most residents will notice it. Residents should expect to see their motor vehicle bills increase this coming July, even if there is no mill rate change.

The Suffield 2021 Taxable Net Grand List grew by $40.36 million or 2.67%. The Grand List includes all net taxable real estate, motor vehicles and personal property. Although Motor Vehicles make up less than 11% of the Grand List, vehicles were responsible for almost all the increase in taxable property this year. In Suffield, the 2021 motor vehicle portion of the Grand List increased 25.24% or $33,613,318 over the 2020 Grand List. This was consistent across the state. The median increase for all towns in CT was 26.4% over the 2020 Grand List values.

In Connecticut, Motor Vehicles are priced using the clean retail price of the October 2021 edition of the National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) Book. Motor vehicles are assessed at 70% of this value. Assessors do not adjust vehicles for high mileage or condition. Residents who seek a reduction for those reasons should appeal their value to the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA). The BAA will meet on Thursday, September 29 from 7 – 9 p.m. to hear walk-in appeals.

The Motor Vehicle Committee of the Connecticut Association of Assessors (CAAO) has compiled a list of articles from around the October 1, 2021 assessment date that may help to explain the increase. The articles can be found on the Assessor’s page of the Town website

This unusual increase in motor vehicle values has gotten the attention of local and state leaders. Governor Lamont is proposing changing the assessment method to make vehicle values more predictable and exempting certain vehicles from taxation altogether (snowmobiles, ATVs and residential trailers). Governor’s Bill 5043 would change the valuation method from clean retail value to manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) with a 20-year depreciation schedule. This would eliminate any value increases as cars get older. If the bill passes and is signed into law, it will become effective for the 2023 Grand List. In the meantime, residents should expect to see their motor vehicle bills increase this coming July.

As far as the rest of the Grand List, the Real Estate and Personal Property portions were essentially flat. The chart below details the growth. Plans are being made for the state mandated revaluation of real estate which will be effective October 1, 2023.

The Assessor’s office is always available for any questions residents may have regarding property assessments. Feel free to stop by Town Hall or email us with any questions.

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