Some try to take advantage of tax cap
Nevada’s assessors say some homeowners are trying to claim several properties as their primary residence – one person tried up to 13 addresses – to squeeze them all under Nevada’s new 3 percent property tax cap.
With housing values climbing, the 2005 Legislature capped annual increases for a homeowner’s primary residence at 3 percent a year. They set an 8 percent annual cap for businesses and other property, including rentals.
Clark County officials told the state’s Tax Commission that many people are trying to squeeze multiple properties under the 3 percent cap. One owner filed 13 properties, each as his primary residence, they said.
Carson City Assessor Dave Dawley and Douglas Assessor Doug Sonnemann said they, too, have had owners try to claim more than one home as their primary residence. Sonnemann said he received three cards claiming three homes as an individual’s primary residence – all mailed in the same envelope.
Dawley said he received a card from a homeowner mailed from Dayton claiming a primary residence in Carson City.
“I called Lyon County and they said he was claiming in Dayton, too, so I called him and said you don’t qualify for Carson City,” he told the Tax Commission.
Dawley said several assessors have had a husband claiming one residence as primary to get the break while the wife claims a second residence as her primary dwelling. They said those situations are forcing assessors to make judgment calls every day.
“It’s decision-making on the fly from our standpoint,” said Sonnemann. “We’re trying to be consistent, but it’s always easier for us and more comfortable when you have hard regulations that say this qualifies and this doesn’t.”
“It’s been a huge problem,” said Dawley. “I know all the assessors are trying to have the same judgments, but it’s hard because every situation is different.”
He said if one person lives in Las Vegas and his spouse in Carson City, maybe they qualify for two primary residences.
“But if they do, what about where the houses are just three blocks apart? Is there now some separation mileage that would qualify as the cutoff?”
Taxation Director Chuck Chinnock said he doubts that was the Legislature’s intent.
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