Thursday, 30 June 2011 by David H. LeVan
In the 1980s (possibly the most influential musical decade in our history), the Bangles released a song “Walk Like an Egyptian”. We might change that title to “Tax Like an Egyptian”, at least when it comes to property taxes.
Ever look at your property tax bill and wonder, “Who created this tax? Whose idea was it to tax property anyway?” Your wonderment might best be directed towards ancient Egypt. Starting in 3,500 B.C. Egypt created one of the first pictures of how this property tax thing should work.
Farmers and land holders in Egypt paid property taxes equal to about ten percent of the land production (that sounds like a Texas tax rate to me!). If the person who was being taxed could not or would not pay he was taken to the courts for justice. In many of the Ancient Egyptian tombs, wall paintings depict village elders being punished for trying to ignore or evade property taxes. In Ancient Egypt they even had a god for tax assessors. His name was Thoth and he took the form of a human body with an ibis head (the ibis is a bird with a long, downward curving beak).
Ancient Egypt’s property tax system is not so different from what we see today (except maybe Thoth). Anyone want to suggest lyrics for “Tax Like an Egyptian”?
Topic: A Tax to Grind, Property Tax Appeals
Thursday, 23 June 2011 by David H. LeVan
How do you maximize your investment when hiring a property tax consultant? We all know that savings are important but what about other deliverables? When you have a minute, check out…
Thursday, 16 June 2011 by David H. LeVan
Do you remember playing games as a kid? Some of my best childhood memories were playing kickball, dodgeball or baseball with my neighborhood friends! While most of us were there to have fun, there was always that one kid who would try to change the rules when things weren’t going his way. In dodgeball it was “it only hit my shirt, not my body”. In baseball, the strike zone became non-existent. In kickball he was never out, no matter what the facts might otherwise indicate. And there was always some “new rule” used to explain the situation….. usually one we had never heard of before.
Application software is exempt from personal property taxation in California (and most other states for that matter). When it is included with the price of equipment a taxpayer must identify the nontaxable software portion and show its value in order to be exempt. Seems like a fair rule. In fact, taxpayers have played by this rule for years and the courts have backed the rule. But, like that one kid on the playground, certain assessors and legislators don’t like the rule. They introduced a “new rule”, AB 832, which would raise the standard of proof to make it almost impossible for taxpayers to win. Fortunately the bill has been “ordered to inactive” which means that it won’t be discussed for at least another year. But don’t be surprised if that kid shows up again.
For more information on AB 832, you can check out www.caltax.org.
If you want to know more about how to pursue a position on nontaxable software, feel free to contact us.