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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tax bills: More to be done

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The process of determining property tax bills continues to become more complicated.

Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh confirmed to The Brazil Times recently the county has received the 2008 pay 09 tax rates for each of the 20 districts, but still have work to do before bills can be calculated.

"We are still in the process of updating the TIF districts in order for us to prepare the abstract," she said. "Also, we are waiting on a software update to be installed so we can correctly calculate the credits and deductions."

Alumbaugh added she anticipates being able to complete the abstract by the end of this week, and Clay County Treasurer Debbie James said the county should be able to start computing bills by the end of next week.

"It is definitely a complicated process this year," James said. "However, everything should come to a head this week for us to be able to determine a due date for the first installment."

Other than having to recalculate the bills because of the 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 percent property tax caps in effect this year, Alumbaugh said the numbers also have to be refigured for the Homestead Credit and Supplemental Homestead Deduction.

"This year, the Homestead credit is 8.5005 percent of the net residential tax amount," she said. "Also new is the Supplemental Deduction which is an additional 35 percent for home with an assessed value of less than 600,000, and 25 percent for homesteads beyond that threshold."

However, depending on the number of acres an individual owns, determining those figures may have to be done through two separate processes.

For example, if a property with one acre of land has a gross assessed value of $100,000, and the owner has applied for the Standard Homestead Deduction, the net value would be reduced by the maximum of $45,000, down to $55,000. The owner would also receive the 35 percent Supplemental Deduction on that amount, which is only given to those who are already receiving the Standard Homestead Deduction, leaving a net assessed value of $35,750. Should the property be in Lewis Township, which has the lowest rate this year at 1.4045 dollars per $100 of assessed value, the total gross tax for the year would be approximately $502 dollars. Brazil City -- Brazil Township has the highest rate this year at 2.8062.

To figure the Homestead Credit in this situation, multiply the $502 by the 8.5005 percent rate creates a credit of approximately $42.67. This amount is then subtracted by the gross tax amount of $502, which would leave a total of $459.33 worth of property taxes to be paid for the year, which is much lower than the $1,500 tax cap this particular property would have this year.

"Needless to say, it will take a little bit of time to get the bills figured up to be sent out," Alumbaugh said. "However, we still plan to have the first installment by the end of June."

Alumbaugh added the Standard Homestead Deduction applies only on a residence, along with a garage (attached or not), and only one acre of land. Any other additional land or improvements, such as a barn, are not taken into consideration when determining the deductions.

"Basically, if your property has a total assessment of $100,000 with five acres and a barn, but the homestead portion is assessed at $80,000 for the home, garage and one acre, the deductions and Homestead Credit will be figured off of the $80,000 residential assessment," she said. "The total deductions and credits determined from the residential assessment would then be used to figure the total net tax for the property as a whole."

In all of Clay County's 20 taxing districts, rates are significantly down from last year, and are also less than they were for the 2006 pay 07 property tax year.

"The tax rates are down quite a bit, but there is no longer the Property Tax Replacement Credit, so there is the chance that if a property's assessment remained the same this year, the property taxes may go up," James said. "However, I'm not sure the circuit breaker will play much of a role here this year, but the county will still be taking a hit on property tax revenue."

James added there will be an additional bank in the area which will be accepting property tax payments as well.

"Last year, First Financial Bank accepted payments to alleviate the congestion in the Treasurer's Office, and it was very effective," she said. "Along with their four locations, the Terre Haute Savings Bank's Brazil location will also be accepting payments on property taxes."

For those who cannot wait for their tax bills to see what they will have to pay, the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), in partnership with the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University, recently released property tax estimator online.

The tool allows taxpayers to enter their assessed value, taxing district and potential deductions to see the estimated amount of their tax bill for 2009. However, the estimates provided by the tool are projections only and are not to be considered a statement of true tax liability.

The tool may be accessed at www.in.gov/dlgf/4932.htm. Residents may also view the Clay County budget, along with analysis from the DLGF at www.in.gov/dlgf/2612.htm.

The following graphic compares the Certified Gross Property Tax rates for each taxing districts in Clay County for 2007, 2008 and 2009:

District2007 rate2008 rate2009 rate
Brazil Township2.13922.25641.7750
Brazil City - Brazil Township2.93273.11982.8062
Cass Township2.05682.16201.6448
Dick Johnson Township2.00852.09871.5857
Harrison Township1.98932.07201.5500
Clay City Town2.69602.86372.4843
Jackson Township1.95562.04941.5225
Brazil City - Jackson Township2.89573.08012.7578
Lewis Township1.98312.26871.4045
Perry Township1.97492.06071.5320
Posey Township1.97362.07901.5592
Brazil City - Posey Township2.89803.09802.7810
Staunton Town2.16012.29531.8716
Sugar Ridge Township1.97082.06291.5359
Center Point Township2.11132.21111.7515
Van Buren Township2.01162.10781.5897
Carbon Town2.17782.28991.8695
Knightsville Town2.16632.30681.8469
Harmony Town2.33012.49052.0254
Washington Township1.96102.04771.5189

Note: All rates represent the dollar amount per $100 of assessed property value.

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Does the assessed value represent the reduction in value of real estate since last fall's downturn or is it not reconfigured but every 5-10 years?

How is the "circuit breaker"[staggered formula] fair when the homeowner is already getting a "break" with the homestead exemption which I believe eliminates the first $45,000 of real estate value already gives the homeowner a discounted rate?

Indiana's constitution was written to tax each person EQUALLY and this circuit breaker is violating the constitution; only to add taxes to the businessperson unequally. How is that going to attract business to Indiana? In actuality it only appears to be attractive to the voter as there are more homeowner voters than there are businesses.

This appears to be quite a sneaky move on part of our state legislatures and now they want to change the constitution in order to legalize what they did last year when they put the circuit breaker in place.

While it looks good initially to the voter/homeowner, it is likely to also economically cripple small communities with fewer high tax rate businesses who only collect at the lower rate. The sales tax increase did not make up for the difference in revenue in the smaller communities and the sales tax also unequally taxed the poor of the communities as they still had to buy the same products as the more wealthy but yet paid the same tax. Think about it.

We are robbing Peter to pay Paul and some local governments like Clay county don't even have a Peter living there to rob so will not have enough money to keep running without further infrastructure disintegration.

Call your state legislators TODAY and tell them NOT to change the state's constitution!!!

Go to this site to find their contact info:


-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Thu, Apr 23, 2009, at 7:59 AM

If a business owner pays $3,300 annually for property tax on a home used for business, and a homeowner next door with a similar home pays $800, how long do you think the business owner wants to remain in Brazil. The "new tax deal" was supposed to be based on market value. There is no fairness in the new system for small business owners. Remember what the retired gentleman from Indianapolis Power and Light said about Mitch Daniels, "Mitch Daniels, I wouldn't trust him". He who controls the media, controls the mind...

-- Posted by ucantbserious on Thu, Apr 23, 2009, at 9:32 AM

Don't blame it ALL on Daniels. Plenty of state reps up there at the statehouse too. We just need to make our voices heard. Contact Daniels AS WELL as legislators up there. Tincher, Kersey, Michaels. etc etc. All need to know what's on our minds. They only jump for the loudest voice. do you wan tour state constitution nullified by this? I've contacted several of them but my voice alone does little. Hundreds of calls and emails will let them know we are serious.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Thu, Apr 23, 2009, at 2:12 PM

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