Confusion and frustration over Clark County property tax hike persists

When Marcus Gafter learned that homeowners in southern Nevada could face a higher than expected property tax hike, he looked through his records and saw that he was one of them.

Gafter, who owns a condo in Las Vegas, sent a form to the county around the beginning of June to correct it, he recalled. Last week, records still showed he was facing the biggest increase.

Gafter said he felt “extremely frustrated and a bit anxious” about it.

“Anything about taxes, people get nervous…and I’m one of those people,” he said.

Following a whirlwind of chatter about property tax increases, the Clark County assessor tried to dispel “misinformation” on the subject in late June. The confusion and frustration over this complex issue has not gone away, however.

Clark County officials “continue to see residents who don’t understand why their mailed tax bills are incorrect,” county spokesman Erik Pappa said Aug. 1. He asked the media to let their viewers, readers and listeners know that if someone recently filled out the form to fix their tax increase, the assessor “has received a large number of corrections which may take a while to process. time”.

This reiterated a county press release last month saying that if someone received a tax bill with the wrong increase but sent in a correction, the treasurer’s office would send out a revised bill once the correction was processed.

If they don’t receive a revised bill “by October,” the statement added, they should contact the appraiser’s office.

The county also posted a YouTube video, dated July 18, to address the issue. The three-minute, 49-second clip is packed with information, including property tax bills, where to find the rate of increase on your mortgage statement, how the cap is determined, and how to correct the rate.

“Here’s what you need to know, quickly and simply,” the narrator says before launching into the details.

tax talk

It all followed a mix of news reports, emails and social media posts about the tax hikes that prompted County Assessor Briana Johnson to hold a June 29 press conference on the subject.

Johnson said homeowners have up to a year to establish their correct “tax cap” rate – the percentage increase in a property tax bill – for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

In Nevada, the maximum tax increase for a person’s primary residence is 3%, and the maximum increase for other properties, including land and commercial buildings, is 8%.

The state is taking the maximum increase in both categories this year.

Johnson said the property tax cap “will be 8%” this fiscal year “if you have not notified the assessor’s office that the house you are in is your principal residence.”

But she noted that owners have the next 12 months to fix it for the current fiscal cycle.

When asked why the tax hike automatically defaults to the higher rate, not the lower rate, in these cases, Johnson told the Review-Journal on Wednesday through the Office of County media that officials were unaware of a property’s intended use after ownership. changes.

To determine if this is the new owner’s primary residence, the owner is required by state law to submit a claim, she said.

“This means that the appraiser is not allowed to default to the lower rate,” the statement concludes.

Ownership documents

Clark County is sending homebuyers postcards asking if the property is their primary residence or not — a query that could be dismissed as spam.

Brandon Roberts, president of the Las Vegas Realtors trade association, told the Review-Journal in late June that he was hearing “a lot” about the issue at the time and people were caught off guard.

Roberts also said the postcard notifications “looked a bit like junk mail” and that he knew people who threw them away, including one of his agents, who then asked for another.

“If he hadn’t seen the social media posts, he would have missed it,” Roberts said.

Gafter, the condo owner, said he didn’t remember receiving the postcard after he and his wife acquired the home near Buffalo Drive and Summerlin Parkway last year.

“It was an obnoxious amount of mail we received after we moved in,” he said.

The owners have now flooded the county with paperwork to change their tax hikes.

The assessor’s office “received over 150,000 forms electronically and in person in the days leading up to the June 30 deadline to correct the previous year’s tax cap and change it in the future” , Pappa told the Review-Journal on August 4.

The office is working “to validate and verify these forms as some may be duplicates and others may not be eligible” for the lower raise, he said, adding that the county treasurer will send the corrected tax invoices. by October.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Eli Segall at [email protected] or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

Penny D. Jackson