A Tax to Grind | A Blog to Enlighten and Entertain Those Afflicted with Property Tax

Auto and Property Tax Distinctions

Topic: A Tax to Grind, A Tax to Grind

Thursday, 16 April 2015 by David H. LeVan

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Most of us want to know our vehicle is worth something at the end of its life. When the time comes to trade it in or sell it outright we hope to maximize the resale value. Good news if you drive a Subaru or Lexus! According to Kelly Blue Book, Subaru is the best brand for resale value. Its “smart ultra-practicality combined with one of the best low-traction all-wheel-drive systems around” makes it a favorite when resale time comes. The best luxury brand for resale value is Lexus. In fact, they’ve won that distinction for the past four years. “Safety, substance, style and Siri all contribute to the Lexus dynasty”.

In Virginia, however, a high retained value may be a detriment. While many states tax a vehicle once with the license, title and registration, Virginia imposes a property tax annually based on the vehicle’s value. According to Watchdog.org, this property tax exceeds $1 billion per year. Property tax rates on vehicles are determined by each jurisdiction and can exceed 6.5%, which means you could pay hundreds of dollars each year for that high value retaining, Subaru Forester SUV. Or worse, your fleet of high value retaining, Subaru Forester SUVs.

Kelly Blue Book has given the “best brand” distinction to Subaru and Lexus. With its high property tax on cars, The Tax Foundation, a Washington DC organization, has given Virginia the distinction of having the highest per capita personal property tax in the nation.

Auto and Property Tax Distinctions

No Free Lunch in Property Taxes

Topic: A Tax to Grind, A Tax to Grind

Thursday, 09 April 2015 by David H. LeVan

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“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” It’s a popular adage whose origination is unknown. It was a common practice for saloon owners in the 1800s to offer “free lunch”, luring the crowds in. The food served was very salty, ensuring that lots of beer would be purchased. Thus, no “free lunch”. Fiorello La Guardia said it, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” (in Italian, loosely translated) upon becoming mayor of New York City in 1933. His “free lunch” was referring to graft and corruption. The free-market economist, Milton Friedman used the phrase as the title of a book in 1975. He was referring to opportunity cost.

Several restaurants and a bank recently found out that they may be subject to property tax, even though they are operating on the tax exempt campus of College of DuPage, in the suburbs of Chicago. According to the Daily Herald, the Milton Township assessor is trying to determine if businesses like Subway, Starbucks, and Chick-fil-A should be on the tax roll even though they operate in the college’s food court. He’s already determined that U.S. Bank should be paying property taxes on their 333 square foot campus branch, since it’s operated for profit.

I guess there’s no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to paying property taxes, even if your property is located on a tax exempt campus and even if you do serve lunch.

no free lunch

Taylor Swift Property Tax Bill

Topic: A Tax to Grind, A Tax to Grind

Thursday, 02 April 2015 by David H. LeVan

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Taylor Swift is the headliner for a new property tax bill being proposed by the governor of Rhode Island. According to Watchdog.org, Gov. Gina Raimondo is proposing a new tax that “asks those among us who are most able, to pay a little more”. While not dubbed a tax on property, it’s described as a tax on the privilege of owning property. And, the privilege only counts for household who own second properties worth over $1 million dollars.

Swift has this “privilege” because she said “You Belong with Me” to a $17 million dollar mansion in Rhode Island a few years ago. The cost for her “privilege” would be about $43,000 per year. While this would definitely cause “Teardrops on my Guitar”, I’m not sure what it will do for Taylor. For the state, this new tax will add almost $12 million to its coffers, perhaps helping it to “Begin Again”. It may also open the doors for expanding property taxation and cause some folks to sell their second homes in Rhode Island. In this case the Governor may have to just “Shake it Off”.

What do you think about the proposed new property tax? If you don’t have an opinion on that, feel free to share your favorite Taylor Swift song.

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