New Hampshire property tax is highest in the nation. NH ranks 50th out of 50 states in terms of property tax burden. That is as measured in per $1,000 of personal income by ALEC’s Rich State Poor State2019. That, as they say, is an opportunity to improve. As J. C. Watts, Jr wrote, “Death and taxes may be inevitable, but they shouldn’t be related.”
Forms of Taxation
Property taxation has existed in various forms since civilization began. In days of old the main source of wealth was land and what could be brought forth from it. Before the existence of a monetary system, taxes were paid by a percentage of crops raised. Through most of history, the tax assessor and the tax collector were the same person.
Some of the most common forms of taxation over the millennia were poll taxes which were capitation taxes levied upon individuals. Tariffs are taxes on goods, and property taxes which are levied on the value of land, buildings, and other personal property. Let’s try to understand what we have in common with our ancestor assessors, what we can learn from them, and how developed the current property tax system has come to be.
If you own a home, business, or another piece of real estate, you’ve probably wondered; why exactly do you have to pay property taxes? Feeling frustrated about the fees certainly isn’t uncommon. Tax Foundation and other sources say the most hated tax in America is the property tax.
People despise these taxes for several practical reasons. They’re a pain to assess and collect, they end up getting raised regularly because property value grows with the economy, and they’re generally regressive making them unfair for those with lower incomes.
The Philosophy of Property Tax
You probably already understand the basic reasoning behind taxes. You pay your local, state, and federal governments specific fees to provide public services and amenities. Property tax is “the only major tax common to all 50 states. It is the oldest tax levied in the U.S. Taxes on income and purchases can generate important revenue for the government. Property however remains the most fundamental way to fund the governmental activities.
Property taxes technically can encompass all of a person’s tangible assets and intangible holdings. That means all real property, personal property and intellectual property. Over the past 30 years, the trend has been to shift away from personal property. The shift has been toward real property for tax purposes. Real estate appraisals are generally more accurate than citizens’ assessments of personal property. Many Americans have the majority of their net worth tied up in their real estate holdings. Property is an important source of taxation.
What Do Your Property Taxes Pay For?
Taxes can be quite complicated in the United States. It can be difficult to determine exactly where your money is going. When you pay your annual property tax bill, you’re typically contributing to:
- Your local public schools: “This is the largest single line item in nearly any property tax bill… In fact, it’s usually greater than 50%, and much higher still in some areas. The majority of your property tax goes to education.
- “Police, public safety, libraries and fire protection, get funding from property tax.
- Basic maintenance of your community. The roads you drive on, parks you jog through, sewage systems are paid by property taxes.
- Your property tax allocation also includes fees to pay your municipal administrators and up of facilities for them.
New Hampshire property tax is highest in the nation. What did your legislature do to taxes in your state this session? The budget they passed went up nearly 20%. Sure it got vetoed but the legislature made a statement. Why does the State dip into local property tax? When spending goes up a lot taxes must follow. It’s the only way to balance the budget. Do we really want to be the most taxed state in the nation? How does that promote the NH Advantage?