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Original post made
on Jan 11, 2017
It's a Wonderful Life, right Mr. Potter?
"While we may lose some penalty revenue..."
This is what horrifies me about how our government representatives think. They actually see the penalty on people who cannot easily pay their taxes as a source of revenue to be considered. Sort of like seeing traffic fines not as a way to incentivize good driving, but as a way to make money.
This basically means that schools will remain bad even in neighborhoods with 1mln homes. Because uneducated low income families living 3 generations in the same house will have less incentive to sell and will be keeping the school scores down.
However I do feel for lonely senior residents. I wish the law would give them a break specifically.
Wow, School fan, you could barely contain your disdain for your neighbors of low income. Fortunately, you're not representative of the people of Mountain View. We're better than that.
That is one perspective, albeit a naĂ¯ve one. Don't you think they have enough data to see that regardless of the penalties, and regardless of the circumstance, some people will pay late or not at all. Do you think the county should just pretend that doesn't happen?
It is likely true that they build that into their estimates, but the cynical view is not the only one here. It may just be them accepting reality, trying to understand what people's limitations are, and helping out by not levying fines on those most in need of a break.
According to this article, there is an average annual property tax of $9,900. A total secured tax of 4.5 BILLION per year for Santa Clara County. Where is this money going? This is outrageous!!! On top of an insane mortgage. How do people do it?
The current system in its oversimplicity regarding late payments leads to some bizarre circumstances. A couple years ago I mistakenly paid the full bill INCLUDING the pre-calculated 10% penalty, well in advance of the due date. This meant that the check was for the wrong amount and so the Tax Collector sat on my check and didn't cash it. 30 days later I noticed the check wasn't clearing and realized my mistake, right before the deadline. Meanwhile I heard not a peep out of them. This is pretty bad. The rules don't allow them to cash overpayments either, not even with keeping the overage for some long period and collecting interest for themselves on it before refunding. They print the bills in a way where you can glance at the bill and get the incorrect amount. It goes up every year.
Ok so believe it or not, it gets worse! I noticed in time, so I used their electronic system to make the payment. This emptied out my bank account. So THEN they decide they can finally cash my check which results in 3 overdrafts at my bank as they repeatedly try to cash the check. So I call them about it and they say they'd normally also charge an extra amount for the overdrafts on THEIR END, but they agreed to waive it in this case. I'd say so.
This is just to show how much trouble the current iron clad simple rule is. Get the amount right down to the penny or the check won't count. They say they should have returned it, which would have been OK, since I had plenty of time when I sent it in. But they did not. Much simpler if they would just cash it and deal with the discrepancy separately.
With the government, it is death by a thousand cuts. A small fine or fee here, a long wait in line there, a cut in services without a reduction in fee with resulting disdain and distrust from the public.
Government is a money pit. What happens to the $20 annual car registration fee for the county? Where do the assessments from traffic fines/fees go?
It should be Government Of the People, By the People and For the People. As it stands, it is Government for the politicians and lobbyists.
After buying my home, I paid my first property taxes using their Santa Clara's online payment (outsourced to some company).
The next year taxes were due, I remember being annoyed I had to re-enter payment information (it is not just a simple credit card number: it is your bank's routing number and your checking account's number).
Apparently I got one of those wrong (although the company would not tell me the numbers I entered -- even though I had a screen capture of the payment.. Unfortunately showing only the last (correct) 4 digits of the numbers I entered). First time in my life I've ever screwed that up -- and I knew there was a hefty fee, so I remember counting-twice and pressing submit once. I think that company gets a big cut of the "error fee" they collect.
For this "mistake" I got charged an $80 when I went and paid in person at the property tax place in San Jose.
You know, anyone could put *any* numbers into Tax Payment website for *any* property -- which will cost the owner $80 when they go to pay. So if you hate your neighbor and can figure out their parcel number, have a blast!
Ever since that $80 fee, I've paid my taxes in person. Since paying in person is so time-consuming (travel to San Jose), I pay both installments together (which totals over $20k!). I hope they choke on it.
I wish there was an easy way to electronically make those payments -- does anyone do a bill-pay originating from their bank? Will Property Tax Office accept checks without the "form" they send out?
It really shows how out of touch people here are when, in an area with one of the lowest effective property tax rates (thanks Prop 13!) they're complaining about the property taxes on their $2M home.
My CA home isn't "$2M" -- rich people live in $2M homes. I have a crappy sub-2000sqft 4BR/2BA single story Eichler built in the 1950s. That's not "millionaire livin" as the *home* can't be worth more than $150k.
It's the dirt/location it is built on that puts thel property sale price high (and subsequent taxes) at $20k/year.
My east coast house is on the water (with a dock), has a nice deck off each bedroom, is 3 stories tall with a beautiful grand room, was built this decade, and *looks* way better than the $2M we paid for it. That, I tell you, *is* rich living.
Finally, I was complaining about the butt-hurt $80 -- not prop 13... Go ahead, repeal that junk... And get rid of mortgages too. Cash on the barrelhead would go a long way keeping RE prices in check.
Just to get this straight, you own two $2M+ properties? And you're complaining about $80, while insisting that your house here isn't worth $2M? This area has gotten worse than I thought...
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