You know what’s confusing? Property taxes is confusing. Holy bejesus is it confusing. This may be old news to those of you who’ve already been through the blood-letting—I mean, home-buying—process, but it’s all exciting and fresh to Mr. Newbie here. I’m shocked I can talk about this it all, but thanks to my attorney (never thought I’d utter those words), I’m a smidgen more clear on it now than I was yesterday.
Here goes. The property taxes listed on the spec sheet for our new condo were for the year 2002. You may recall that that year ended almost 20 months ago, and yet it’s the latest data Realtors have for the properties they’re selling. The reason for this is—and this is where it starts to get kooky—taxes are assessed and paid in arrears, meaning people are just getting around now, 8 months later, to learning what last year’s taxes will be, and paying them. Okay, who cares as long as it’s paid, right? Not so fast, cowboy. There’s the problem of who gets to pay the 2004 taxes up till now.
See, technically, the current owners should pay those taxes. But they’ll be well-established members of whatever Cayman Island community they land in by the time we learn, a year from now, what the full total of those taxes are. Relying on these individuals to be responsible and cough up their share is apparently a big real estate no-no, so now it’s up to the attorneys on both sides to figure out a fair estimate of what they’ll be. Since the state (or is it the county?) is in the middle of reassessing property values, the short answer is: we can all pretend to be smart about it, but nobody really knows what in the hell those new values will be.
Which all leads to the main point: my attorney called me today, trying to rope me into helping her come up with a fair guess of how much the government was going to raise taxes—an amount that the sellers’ attorney will accept. A conversation farther away from my sphere of knowledge I cannot come up with. I “uh-huh”-ed my way through the explanation, and then I told her to do what’s best—what she thought was the fairest for both sides. I trust she will. I could try to tell you what that solution was, but the experience would be painful for both of us. So I think I’ll leave it at: fuckin’ government, man.