Private companies can make more than your property is worth if you fail to pay taxes

Originally published at: Private companies can make more than your property is worth if you fail to pay taxes | Boing Boing

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For anyone interested in the minutiae of Massachusetts property tax law, this case has a nice summary and a detailed setting out:

Not surprisingly it also involves Tallage Lincoln.


America is a minefield laid out to the benefit of corporate predators like Tallage Lincoln. Just when you think you’ve made it out, you take another step and … “click”.


And wasn’t there recently an effort to give corporations the right to form actual governments with the ability to hold land and a police force and collect taxes out west?

Why is any of this made legal? Why and how? This is wrong on so many levels.


Article is paywalled, but I was curious to know if they pointed out companies have been doing this for many decades. This is not only an old practice, it’s also a major cause of homelessness among elderly people. Some who have paid off their houses find out too late that their fixed incomes in retirement can’t keep pace with ever-increasing property taxes. The seniors who are evicted wind up in nursing homes for the indigent (the worst ones in the system - licensed and run by the state), with relatives, or out on the street.


Worse, the situation was exploited by “free”-market fundies in California in the late 1970s to push the infamous Prop 13, which impacts school funding there to this day.

The underlying problem, of course, is the developer- and landlord- and now bank-driven financialisation of housing, which in turn drives the broken American school funding model and also provides municipalities starved of other revenue to rely more and more on the easy route of property taxes on ever-inflating assessments.


The Boston Globe’s paywall (like NYT and other sites) is javascript dependent. If you turn off javascript on their site you can read all the articles


Gah - :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: browser update wiped my settings! Thanks for the reminder! :grimacing:


That’s not the only setting that the latest update of Firefox wiped. Attention browser manufacturers: no-one in the general public wants to download webp images yet.

9 Likes–_.pdf

It kind of reminds me of a corporate version those laws that allow squatters to claim someone else’s land if they can live on it and make improvements for several years before the actual owner finds out.


First, yeah, this whole "allowing companies to buy up houses by paying their takes is ridiculous.

But stepping back for a second - how did they get there? Like how does one own a home that they suddenly can’t afford the property tax? Was it a huge reassessment in the value? They had something like that happen in KC and they sued to get the property values back down to earth. Not sure how successful they were.

I am all for taxing properties people can afford. But if people find themselves in property that they bought a long time ago and its value has increased to the point they can’t pay taxes, I feel that should be grandfathered into the old rate. At least until it is sold.


Ok, after reading the article it looks like the is looking for cases in other states. IANAL, but some of the takes they have on “government overreach” due to the pandemic were interesting. I’ll put this in the coronavirus topic, too:

Some of it is due to reassessments, and some is due to increasing reliance on property taxes for school funding (a bill that always goes up). In PA the process to challenge an assessment involves appraisals, and sometimes that’s not easy for seniors to navigate. Other times, it’s because what used to be an average neighborhood suddenly becomes popular.

The assessment increases benefit the people who want to sell and move away, but not the ones who want to stay. When an older district starts getting an influx of new residents that are mostly families with kids, the costs skyrocket. In my area, that leads to referendums for new schools to be built - because the old ones can’t handle the number of students. Older residents see the handwriting on the wall and vote against it, but in cases where they are outvoted, the vicious tax cycle gets even worse.

In PA seniors with low incomes can file for rebates on taxes, but 5-10% won’t help much against thousands of dollars due every year. There have been several proposals to change from a property tax base to a combination of sales and income tax changes in recent years. Unfortunately, the legislature has always voted against them - probably because of disagreements about benefits and costs for local businesses.


Yoink! Thank you so much for improving my life with that comment.

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Someday, some quant will decide that the funds he manages could best be used to buy up all private homes in some area, whether they’re for sale or not, and ends private housing in that area. When the other quants realize he’s got something going there, everyone who isn’t a millionaire will end up homeless as the values of the properties, like stocks, are made independent of any possible rent, and eliminates the need for maintenance other than paying off the local cops to ensure nobody’s squatting in the millions of homes.


It just goes to show that you can’t really “own” property. You just get to make use of it until the corporate overlords decide to take it.

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The biggest theft from popular inattention.
Step 1 proposition to raise taxes for schools passes like it always will
Step 2 proposition has expiration date so $ goes to the general fund after awhile
Step 3 profit!
Wash, rinse, repeat until fatcats are sated, which is never!

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I would argue the part about “anyone who isn’t a millionaire” as millionaire could soon be be a new term for someone who has the luxury of living in a van and two weeks worth of grocery money saved. "look fred those annoying millionaires’ are parking on our street again why don’t they get an apartment? " "Ingid ,thats because they’re millionaires, duh "

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