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Expensive property tax bills have Osceola homeowners searching for answers

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 4:06 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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OSCEOLA, Ind. (WNDU) -16 News Now is digging deeper after several homeowners in Osceola say they’re shocked by how much their property tax bill increased.

16 News Now spoke with the Penn Township Assessor to find out why some homeowners are having to pay so much more this year.

Many of the people paying more than they expected for property taxes also had a big increase in the value of their homes.

While this hot market is great for people looking to sell, it’s creating a costly headache for people looking to stay put.

The Penn Township Assessor Mike Castellon says property taxes come together by taking the assessed property value, minus any deductions, and times the local tax rate.

Some Osceola homeowners say they’re paying more than $1,000 more in property taxes this year because the price of their home went up so much.

“When we got the bill this year I didn’t expect an increase and then I get the increase this year and I’m like, ‘Holy cow, that’s a 35% increase.’ That’s a lot,” said Osceola homeowner Josh Scheibelhut.

Scheibelhut says he didn’t make any additions to his home to up the value, but one realtor I spoke to said his gross assessment could increase just because homes around him are selling for more.

“The assessments are based on property values and we’ve certainly seen property values go up in the past several years. It goes hand in hand that homes are becoming more valuable and they’re selling for more and in turn that’s going to increase taxes in a lot of cases,” said South Bend Area Realtors President-Elect Beau Dunfee.

Castellon says homeowners should file an appeal for their property taxes if they think their home isn’t comparable to other homes that sold near them.

“I always tell every taxpayer to file an appeal. Let me look at your specific case. If I can find evidence to keep it at the purchase price or what it sold for then often I’ll adjudicate it to that value,” he said.

The deadline for an appeal on the assessment used to calculate this bill passed last year, but homeowners have until June 15th to file an appeal for their assessment on next year’s bill.

Castellon and Dunfee both say homeowners should make sure they apply any deductions and credits to minimize the cost on their property tax bill.

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