Property Taxes

Every quarter, I have to pay property taxes on the land and house I now own. If I don’t pay them, the town has the right to take the property away.

So in some sense, it feels like I don’t really own my land, and that I’m kind of just leasing it from the town. I mean, I know that it’s not really that way, but that’s what it feels like.

Property taxes are really different from other taxes in that they’re not based on one’s income or ability to pay them. They’re taxes for simply existing. If one lived long enough, one could pay more in taxes on a piece of property than one paid for the property in the first place. That seems… odd.

3 thoughts on “Property Taxes

  1. Yeah, and NH, which has no state income tax, has ultra-high property taxes (though those of course are determined by towns). It is not uncommon to be able to pay your mortgage but not have enough left over for property taxes. And towns can increase your property taxes in two ways: 1) by explicitly raising the tax rate, and 2) by increasing the property value on which you are taxed (even if you don’t do anything to increase the value of your land/house).

  2. You don’t own your body, either. If you don’t pay income tax, they have the right to take that away (by putting you in jail for income tax evasion).

  3. True, and I guess that’s an interesting way of looking at it.

    Perhaps the difference I’m thinking of is that earning income is generally an “active” activity, while having possession of something is generally a “passive” activity.

    Or maybe it’s that getting income, and taxes being a percentage of income, means that it’s likely that you will be getting the money to pay the taxes, since taxes are less than 100% of what you earn. Whereas if it’s just owning something, people may not have the money to pay them, as the taxes could be more than 100% of what you earn. (This is generally true for say, retired people.)

    Or something like one of those.

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