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Just saw our property reassessment letters, with new values. Our numbers are all over the place--no consistency in setting values, that I can see in looking at all our parcels. They all jumped, without any pattern or logic though. There is a "discussion" procedure available to question amounts, but remains to be seen what their "further investigation" will achieve. Now the issue will become the tax rate itself. If it remains where it is it will be a windfall for the VI govt, but a tough spot for those having to pay the bills.
We didn't get our letter yet (in FL). I'm thinking of calling the USVI Tax Assessor office and asking if all were sent out in one mailing or if they are mailing letters out in some kind of "grouping". Our home is on Water Island. I think I read somewhere (One Source maybe?) that there is a limited amount of time where a property owner can call, ask questions, etc. What does the letter say about owners calling with questions?
Sounds pretty normal. The Tax Assessor's web site ( http://www.ltg.gov.vi/newsroom/press_releases/index.htm) says we have until September 15 of the tax year to formally appeal. Also, it says that from July 25 to August 17, the Tax Assessor's office have been dedicated to inquiries about your property and to look up property and sale prices of property similar to yours. And, they have a link to the property database http://www.vipropertyrevaluation.com/
US VI Property Tax Assessor office on STT
No. 18 Kongens Gade
St. Thomas, V.I. 00802
Phone (340) 776-8505
Fax (340) 774-1270
Finding the sales comps for most of the houses on St. Croix that are owned by locals will be pretty tough. Very few Crucians ever sell their homes. They build them themselves and keep them in the family. Entire neighborhoods all over the island have never had a property on the market in the MLS. Some transfer through private sales, but it is an unfortunate likelihood that locals will wind up having their houses assessed at rates set by the few sales of houses that occur to Continentals, even if those houses are in different neighborhoods.
This reminds me of the influx of Californians into Washington in the 1980's. They sold huts in LA for a million and bought a mansion in Washington for a fraction of that, but still drove up the prices so that locals were priced out of the market.
In Florida over the past few years, the rising prices have increased assessments and escalated property taxes to the point that many retired people who have owned their homes for 30 years can't afford to keep them. Hopefully that scenario won't play out here and hurt all the Crucians who built their own homes and aren't trying to capitalize on the rising sales market.
Great House Real Estate
St. Croix, USVI
in looking more closely at our numbers---one property assessed at 60% of retail, another is way low compared to actual value, vacant land at less than 50% of retail, another at about 57% of a recent appraised value, and another at more than 200% of recent (about 8 months ago) sale price....and yet another is not yet finished, so no assessment...two will be re-examined (the 200%+ and the not-yet-done and no one knows why not.)..and then we will see.