ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A lot of Bernalillo County homeowners are angry after learning this week their property tax bills will be going up. Some argue now is not the time to hit people with higher bills. Bernalillo County property owners got their notices of value this week and a good chunk of their values increased by 3% which is the max that the state allows per year if you haven’t recently purchased a home.
Some feel now is not the time for this with so many people suffering financially because of the pandemic. “Generally, we do around 1,500 (in Bernalillo County). This year, we’ve filed 600 and we’ve got another 500 going down Monday. So we’ll probably end up doing about 2,000 protests,” said Scott Clark, the owner of Double Eagle Tax Consultants.
Double Eagle Tax Consultants is helping people appeal to the increase in value. They say many commercial property owners were devastated by the pandemic but they’ve also filed about 400 residential protests. Homeowners say not only were people out of work, they feel the county failed to provide services during the pandemic.
Parks and community centers were closed and it was hard to get responses from county workers, being that many were working limited hours, many from home. County officials argue they still had to pay all their employees and no essential services were canceled. The County Assessor’s Office says the 3% increase is not an annual rubber stamp and the assessor looks at market value.
The County Assessor’s Office adds that some of the increase in people’s bills is not just based on the value of the home but changes in taxes paid to schools, hospitals, and the county and city. “It’s not a direct correlation between an increase in value and tax dollar generated because there may be a voter-approved bond and that would cause an increase even if there was no change in value,” said Clyde Ward, Bernalillo County assessor administrator.
Clark says the residential appeals are hard to win, now than they were just a few years ago because the real estate market is so strong. Anytime you buy a home or build on a property, the county is allowed to increase your tax bill by more than that 3%; It’s known as a lightning tax. You don’t have to hire somebody to appeal for you. For information on how to do it yourself, visit bernco.gov/assessor/protest-process.aspx. You only have 30 days after receiving your notice of value to do so.