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 THE ASSESSOR’S OFFICE

Frequently Asked Questions

 

  • Annually provides a listing for each and every property within the town limits of Branford.  The listing is referred to as the Grand List and provides the basis against which taxes will be levied during the following fiscal year.
  • Maintains an up to date inventory of all property, including land and improvements thereon including changes in ownership, new construction, alterations, and sub-divisions filed as of the assessment date.
  • Lists of Connecticut registered motor vehicles and owners which are assessed for inclusion as part of the Grand List or Supplemental List.
  • Lists of Personal Property by owner and businesses which are assessed for inclusion as part of the Grand List.

 Additionally, the Assessor and staff administer state and local programs for Veterans and State programs for Elderly Homeowners.  They also apply exemptions as permitted by state law and assist the public with a variety of inquiries.

 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q.         How is the tax rate established?

 A.         The tax rate is established by the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting.  It is determined after the budget for the following fiscal year is finalized.  The budget figure is then divided by the preceding Net Grand List, which results in the applicable tax, or Mill Rate.The property tax rate is expressed in mills or thousandths of a dollar. 

A tax rate (mill rate) of 23.94 is equivalent to $23.94 of taxes per $1,000 of net assessed value.  A new rate will be set in May , following the approval of the town budget.

Q.         What do I own that is subject to taxes?

A.         Three types of properties are assessed and subject to taxes:

  1. Real Estate:  Any land or buildings (including mobile homes) you own fall under the category of Real Estate.
  2. Motor Vehicle:  Registered, motorized or un-motorized vehicles (such   as cars, trucks, motorcycles and trailers) are considered motor vehicles for tax purposes.
  3. Personal Property:  Machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures, either owned or leased by business and industry; unregistered motor vehicles and other chattels comprise this category.

Q.         How does the Town determine motor vehicle values?

A.         Standard price guidelines (NADA) recommended by the State Office of Policy and Management are used in determining the average retail value of your motor vehicles as of October 1st of any tax year

Q.         What if I think my assessment is not accurate?

A.         You have the right to appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals.  The Board meets to review and adjust tax assessments during the month of March for Real Estate, Personal Property and Supplemental Motor Vehicles.  In September the board meets for Motor Vehicles appearing on the preceding October 1st.  Applications must be filed for the March session between February 1st and 20th.  Applications must be filed in early September for Motors Vehicles. (See Board of Assessment Appeals Web Site).

Q.         What if I no longer own the motor vehicle that I am being taxed for?

A.         If the motor vehicle was owned on October 1, 2003 for example, it is taxable. However, if the vehicle was sold, stolen, totally destroyed or became registered in another State a tax adjustment may be applicable, required forms of proof are as follows:

  1. PLATE RECEIPT from the DMV indicating that the registration has been CANCELLED, LOST or STOLEN.
  2. Any of the following in ADDITION TO # 1
    • A copy of the bill of sale - (located on the bottom of the registration).
    • A copy of the transfer of title - (signed).
    • Out of State registration - (date the vehicle was registered outside the State of Connecticut.
    • Stolen Vehicle – a statement from the insurance company indicating that the vehicle was stolen & NOT RECOVERED.
    • Totaled Vehicle – a statement from the insurance company indicating that the vehicle was a total loss.
    • Junked Vehicle – a notarized receipt from the junkyard.
    • Trade-in Vehicle – A copy of a purchase agreement.

NOTE: All information must be DATED and the VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER must be on all documentation. Forward to the Assessor’s Office, 1019 Main Street, Branford, Connecticut 06405

Q.         Could I be eligible for any exemptions?

A. Yes, you may be eligible for any of the following exemptions:

  • Veterans having served 90 days or more during time of wars & conflicts. (See attached list)
  • Veterans with a disability.
  • Spouse of a deceased veteran.
  • Legally Blind, as certified by a physician.
  • Exemptions for Active Duty Servicemen.
    1. United States Army Instructors.
    2. Active Duty Serviceman with a Motor Vehicle garaged out of State.
    3. Federal Soldier’s and Sailor’s Civil Relief Act.
  • Farm or Forest assessments.
  • 100% Social Security Disabled.

Please contact the Assessor’s Office for more information and see some of the guidelines below.

Q.  Are there any tax relief programs for senior citizens?

A.         If you or your spouse are 65 years of age or older, or disabled and live in your own home, you may be eligible for a tax benefit through the elderly/ 100% disabled low income /homeowners program.

  • You must apply February 1st through May 15th to be eligible for the Homeowner’s Program, which will reflect your July tax bill of that year.
  • You may contact the Senior Center for low income/disabled renters program
  • You may contact the Tax Office for the Elderly Deferral Program.

TOTALLY DISABLED PERSONS

Subdivision (55) of Statute 12-81 provides for a property tax exemption, in the amount of $1,000, to certain persons who are permanently and totally disabled.  To be eligible for this exemption a person must apply no later than October 1st.  Applicant must be a Connecticut resident; be either the record owner of, hold life use in, or be the beneficiary of a trust estate (copy of trust must be filed with Assessor and is not subject to Freedom of Information Act).with respect to the property on which the exemption will be applied; receive total disability benefits from one of the following: Social Security Administration; Federal, State or Local government retirement or disability plan (including that teacher’s retirement plan, containing qualification requirements comparable to those of the Social Security Administration.

Blind Persons

§12-81(17)

Assessor’s Office, Subdivision (17) of §12-81 provides for a property tax exemption, in the amount of $3,000, to certain persons who are blind.  Blindness is defined in §12-92 as meaning “…total and permanent loss of sight in both eyes or reduction in vision so that the central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with correcting lenses, or if visual acuity is greater than 20/200, it is accompanied by a limitation in the subtends an angle no greater than twenty degrees.”

To be eligible for this exemption, a person must, as of the assessment date on which the exemption is effective:

1.      Person must be a Connecticut resident;

 2.      Be either the record owner of, hold life use in, or be the beneficiary of trust estate with respect to the property on which the exemption will be applied. (Copy of trust must be filed with Assessor and is not subject to Freedom of Information Act).

3.      Have provided proof to Assessor that he/she is blind in accordance with definition contained in §12-92.  An attorney or agent may submit such a proof on the person’s behalf.

While §12-81(17) does not define the type of proof required, assessors generally require a certificate from a qualified medical practitioner.  Such proof need be filed only once.  Once satisfactory proof has been provided, the person becomes permanently eligible for the exemption.  However, §12-94 grants the Assessor the authority to require additional evidence of blindness subsequent to the granting of this exemption.

A veteran who is blind is entitled to the proper tax exemption for which he/she qualifies due to his status as a veteran and the exemption under §12-81(17) for which he/she is eligible based upon his condition of impairment.

Exception regarding ownership:

In the case of a married couple, either the husband or wife may own, hold life use in, or be the beneficiary of a trust with respect to the property for which an exemption is claimed.  They must, however, be domiciled together.  Copy of Trust filed with Assessor’s Office and not subject to Freedom of Information Act.

 

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