What If You Could Set Your Own Tax Assessment Value?

by John Glynn on February 5, 2009

Here in California, Prop 13 puts limits on periodic tax assessments, but in many other states the values change up and down with the county assessor’s opinion of the value of the property. There is an inherent conflict here where the county wants maximum tax revenue, and homeowners don’t want to have to deal with a bureaucratic protest every year when their tax bill feels like an insult.

Paul Kasriel recalls a concept for a solution to this conflict, as discussed by a former Fed official, and how it might relate to current challenges we are facing with “fixing” the economy. Specifically, he is looking at the “bad bank” concept currently being mulled over, and how current banks and the bad bank would theoretically agree on a value for the “bad assets”.

But backing up a step, I found the basis for the analogy more interesting. The self-assessment theory works as follows:

  • Let the owner of the real estate place the value on his property.
  • The taxing authority has the right to purchase the property at the owner-decided value.

Owners are deterred from placing too low a value on their properties, and no incentive to place too high a value on their properties. An efficient system for maximizing and fairly taxing the property in the county. The alternative, which is related to the cringing sounds you hear from economists watching government regulation, intervention, and inter-mediation in this broken-down marketplace, is one where there are more rules, regulations, loopholes and inconsistencies.

It’s a very thought-provoking piece. 2 pages of your time…

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