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Property Taxes

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Summary

Property tax rates in New Hampshire vary greatly from town to town. They take the form of a dollar amount that you pay on every $1,000 of what your property is worth. In 2018, these rates ranged from a low of $3.30 in Hale’s Location to a high of $42.08 in Claremont.

See New Hampshire’s property tax rates by town as of 2018

You’ll see different types of property taxes on your tax bill:

  • Statewide education, which is a state tax that helps fund public schools;
  • County, which your county levies to pay for county services like jails, courts, and some community services;
  • Local school, which funds the rest of the cost of public schools;
  • Town or city, which pays for emergency services like police and fire, road maintenance, and other city or town expenses.  

These are all added together to make up your total property tax.

How is your property tax calculated?

Your property tax is based on the assessed value of your property, which is calculated by your town assessor. The assessed value might not be quite the same as the purchase price of your home, or how much your realtor thinks the home is worth. In New Hampshire, assessed value and market value are usually pretty close to equal.

To learn more about assessment and how properties are valued, read our primer by Daphne Kenyon

All four types of property tax are usually pulled together into a single bill, which comes from your city or town tax collector. As noted above, you pay your property tax rate on every $1,000 your property is assessed to be worth.

To calculate the property tax on your home:

  • Enter your home’s value into a calculator.
  • Divide by 1,000
  • Multiply that by your total property tax rate.

For example, if your house is assessed at $300,000 and your total combined property tax rate is $20, you’d multiply 300 by 20 to get $6,000. That’s what you’d owe in property tax for the year.

The same rates apply to residential homes as to commercial or industrial properties.

Why do property tax rates in NH vary so much?

Property tax rates can be higher or lower in a given community for many reasons. Residents may vote for expanded services, like a new school or full-time fire department. Or towns may make more space for commercial and industrial development, which can potentially add more valuable, taxable property to a town’s pool without a big impact on town expenses.

However, property tax rates can also vary because of the value of property in a town. Towns with higher property values can raise more money with a lower tax rate. Towns with lower-value homes have to charge higher tax rates to generate the same amount of money.

The ongoing debate over property taxes

New Hampshire has no income or sales tax, and therefore relies very heavily on property taxes. If both state and local revenues are taken into account, property taxes make up 64.7% of money raised by the government. That’s the highest reliance on property taxes in the U.S.

Local government, which is funded almost entirely by property taxes, pays for many services in New Hampshire. This can mean that towns with higher property values find it easier to raise money for needed improvements than towns with lower property values. That’s a particularly contentious issue when it comes to funding public schools. Local property taxes foot the bulk of the bill for public education in New Hampshire. A series of lawsuits in the Granite State found that this system is unfair to towns with lower property values, like Claremont. That’s led to calls to change New Hampshire’s tax structure – though so far, there’s been no viable proposal for what that change might look like.

Read more about the debate over school funding

What you can do about property taxes

The most immediate way to impact your property tax rates is to pay attention to your town budget and zoning rules. Sit in on town meetings or talk to your aldermen, council or selectboard about spending priorities.

Hate New Hampshire’s current property tax system? Love it? With a study commission on school funding queued up for the next year, lawmakers will be debating this issue. Contact your elected officials to tell them what you think.

"NH should keep its current tax system.”

  • New Hampshire’s lack of an income or sales tax is key to the “NH Advantage”, which makes the Granite State an attractive place to live and do business. While supporters argue that an income or sales tax could be used to offset property taxes, it would more likely give government carte blanche to increase spending. Just look at what happened in Connecticut.
  • If property values rise or fall because of economic change, local and state government can adjust property tax rates to keep their revenues stable without having to pass a new law. That’s not the case with a sales or income tax, which generally have a set rate that can’t be changed without legislative action. If New Hampshire creates a sales or income tax to reduce its dependence on property tax, revenues might be more vulnerable to economic crashes.
  • Property taxes are highly visible – homeowners see them as a lump sum on their tax bills each year. That’s not necessary the case with income taxes, which are withheld from each paycheck, or sales taxes, which accumulate in tiny amounts on many purchases. This visibility means property owners are more likely to thoughtfully consider what they’re getting for their money. That pressure forces government to be more efficient and more responsive to citizens’ needs and opinions.
  • There are ways to address inequality in property taxes without creating a whole new tax. For example, the state could fund property tax breaks for seniors or low-income taxpayers to keep their tax bills more affordable. New Hampshire should consider these options before upending its whole tax system.

"NH should find other revenue sources so it relies less heavily on property taxes."

  • New Hampshire’s reliance on property taxes means that lower income people here pay, on average, 9.1% of their income in taxes. Compare that to 3.0% of income in taxes paid by the top 1% of the state’s earners. New Hampshire should create a tax system that distributes the tax burden fairly instead of putting a heavier burden on poor families.
  • New Hampshire relies heavily on property taxes to pay for services, particularly public schools. Because property values vary greatly from town to town, wealthier towns have a much easier time raising money for schools than towns with lower property values. This has created big differences in the quality of education from town to town. That’s unfair to New Hampshire’s children.  
  • If someone in a household loses a job, gets sick, divorces or dies, that household still owes the same property tax, which can be a real hardship. Property taxes can also increase because a town builds a new school or takes on other expenses. That can be rough for seniors or others whose income isn’t growing, making it difficult for them to afford to stay in their homes.
  • Heavy reliance on property taxes can also impact town planning decisions such as whether to allow the development of more affordable housing. Planners will opt for policies that increase property tax revenue instead of thinking of what’s best for the community or for New Hampshire as a whole.

Comments

Mark Fernald

Ms. Kenyon needs to revisit some of her statistics and some of her assumptions.

From 1999 to 2011, the total property tax bill in NH doubled.  The property tax as a percentage of all taxes increased from 58% to 66%.

Using Manchester property tax rates to compare to other states is of limited usefulness because Manchester is a relatively low-spending, low tax city (despite what you hear from the Union Leader.)  If you compare the property tax rates of capital cities in each state, NH comes out at or near the top, because Concord is a place that puts more emphasis on funding its schools, and has high property taxes as a result.

Finally, the property tax is very regressive.  Retirees typically pay over 10% of their income in property tax, the middle pays about 6%, while the wealthy typically pay less than 2%.  Consider that we have many homeowners with incomes of, say, $30,000, living in average $200,000 homes.  Most of these people are retired.  We also have people with $300,000 incomes living in very nice $600,000 homes.  The second group has ten times the income as the first, but they don't have ten times the house, so they don't pay ten times the tax.  A better example of regressive taxation would be hard to find.

Mark Fernald

P.S.  Here are the figures showing that property taxes have risen to over 66% of all taxes in NH.

Fiscal 2011 taxes (including 2011 property tax year)

Property tax:                          $3,147,915,082

Beer tax:                                    $12,900,000

Business Profits Tax:                $297,801,000

Business Enterprise Tax:           $192,404,000

Estate and Legacy Tax:                     $92,000

Insurance Tax:                            $84,902,000

Securities Tax:                            $37,025,000

Interest and Dividends Tax:          $76,597,000

Meals and Rooms Tax:              $235,541,000

Dog Racing:                                    $329,000

Horse Racing:                              $1,005,000

Gambling Winning Tax:                 $3,188,000

Games of Chance:                        $1,136,000

Real Estate Transfer Tax:            $81,962,000

Telecommunications Tax:            $76,500,000

Tobacco Tax:                            $226,654,000

Utilities Tax:                                 $5,955,000

Gas Tax:                                  $124,967,000

Auto Registration (not really a tax) $132,132,000

TOTAL:                                    $4,739,005,082

Property tax is 66.4%.  This will be higher once we have the property tax figures for 2012, and the state tax figures for fiscal 2012, as the property tax has most-assuredly risen again, while state tax revenues have been flat.

Joseph

The time to file this is by the March 1st deadline, and since it falls on a Sunday this year, of this is extended to the end of the business day on Monday, March 2nd.

 

The Eby case of June 13th, 2014 was alerted to me by one of the three Selectmen in my town. See:  http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/index.htm over to: http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/2014/index.htm#june2014 and http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/2014/2014040eby.pdf and in particular: pages: 4, 10 + 18-19 of 19 in that you can argue: (1) the un-constitutionality of a statute, as the state-wide tax for education IS unlawful as against Article 5, Part 2, and/or (2) whether any such statute is unlawfully being applied against you, as it is for me in that my religion is Protestant / Congregational.

 

In my Bible it reads of to loan to the poor at zero interest expecting nothing back. So when the town selectmen (assessors) do presume or assume (ass-u-me) that I have RSA Chapter 80:60 "committed" my property to be taxed for such, they are WRONG and I tell them so, BOTH verbally AND in writing, and by the Application process too since they REFUSED to seek an "advise and consent" from the Executive Council as required by Article 5 - Part 2, N.H. Constitution. BEFORE they send out their Tax Warrant to the Tax Collector to bill and collect.  Such "advise AND consent" of BOTH of thus needed beyond any deviousness by saying that of some "implied consent" by mis-applying Article 1 for an in-direct rather than a direct, in that it has to in-clude that of "advise" too!  Get it? Not only at the town level, but supposed to be at the state level too since although Stephan W. Hamilton there at the State Dept. of Revenue Administration (D.R.A.) calls them "Tax Rates" he sends to all the municipalities in this state, it is really an RSA Ch. 198:41,II(b) "tax warrant" (reference: page 2, line #33 in the current House Bill 680 before the "Ways and Means" Committee that had a Public Hearing on this last Friday, Feb. 20th @ from 11:51 - 1:02 p.m. See: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/ to http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0680.html or also at: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0680.pdf Both of us and more testified to such during that hour. )

 

Reference also that of BOTH: (a)  Vol. 55 N.H. REPORTS 503 @ page 505 (1875) of the Brentwood School District No. 2 case in Rockingham County and (b) Chapter 5 of Rose & Milton Friedman's best-selling book in 1980 entitled: "Free to Choose" that became an award-winning TV series too on PBS TV back then that I did read and watch back then too.

 

In the former it reads something like: "If the poor man or the poor child behaves himself honestly and uprightly, the state owes him the services of a schoolmaster and taxes the property of its more favored children in order to pay this debt that is like an exemplification of the law of Christian Charity." And in the latter of to subsidize the poor.  Milton Friedman won the Nobel Prize in Economics.  I had the prior words and cite on a poster in the window of one of my store tenants in Ashland, N.H. during a 1984 Town Tax Sale and after four years of the Town's application of all rents to public purposes (Plank #1 of The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx) finally got a quitclaim deed from the Town in 1988. 

 

Nowadays its more basic than to turn your place into a church to tell them what you will pay, but to assert this religious right as supposed to be a guarantee by Article 5 Part First & N.H. Bill of Rights.  Everyone has their house within the town, and so I pay for the town and county slices of the property tax pie, but REFUSE to pay for the state and local school slices.  As for the local school tax, that is within the "District".  And the word district being territorial in nature is applicable as by the in personam, rather than the in rem, but by RSA Ch. 80:60- you can pretend, in-other-words lie that of to change that dictionary definition to include the land and buildings, but that is YOUR choice, of not supposed to be FORCED upon me! And so I do file the Abatement form to deduct these $amounts as an "any" good cause being such, since the word "any" by RSA Ch. 21:2 means ALL, but which the County Court judge in Merrimack County (Judge Larry Smukler) writes without any hearing(s) on appeals means LIMIT-ed to only two reasons of: (1) poverty / in-ability to pay +/or (2) over-appraised value, (since these are the only two reasons that others had used in the past) then any appeals to there in the PAST be useless, BUT maybe not now by the Eby case.  Or to the B.T.L.A. / Board of Tax and Land Appeals. 

 

 IF your city or town does DENY you such an abatement.  At least you / we, as members here ought to at least TRY, PLEASE! of hopefully to get at least one in each of the eleven Superior Courts in this state to win, or appeal to the Supremes by the $260 filing fee too from court ($260 x 2 = $520!) as that be a mandatory appeal rather than the discretionary one from The BTLTA: (3-member board there appointed by the Supremes)  where the filing fee is only $65.00 but that one of us ought to go to there too.  All of this needed since my three State Legislators did REFUSE to re-present what I presented to them of to please put this into an LSR to a HB or at least ask this question to the Supremes by Article 74 http://www.nh.gov/constitution/judicial.html of maybe this HB 680 can be Amended for such was what I told them last week, of they are on vacation this week, and so for us to anchor in our claims by March 1st. Would you please join me in this challenge  to cut our taxes to the lawful amount. And stop their parasitic tactics against us, in that even if after a civil trial by jury of supposedly owed over $1,500 in taxes, as a tax is really just a charge, of not a debt due and owing, that by the Morsell case of 1875 at the U.S. Supreme Court:91 U.S. 357, 23 LAW ED. @ page 437: " The lien arose from the power to issue a writ of elegit", or in other words for the so-called debtor to be squeezed down to half the freehold (or RSA Ch. 480:1-9 homestead estate ) to make payments therefrom until the debt be paid in full, of thus any Tax Sale be for only up to 50% and on this temporary basis. See also: Vol. 22 NH REPORTS 234-245 @ page 239 entitled:  Morrison v. Bedell out of Grafton County, December Term 1859: "...the books abound with authorities to show that debt is the proper form of action to recover a penalty or forfeiture created by statute."

 

Yours truly, - - Joe Haas

Joseph
The N.H. Supreme Court has already ruled that: "  at: :     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court for  The "Notable Cases" and "Educational Funding" footnote over to: http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/1997/school.htm "
 The majority holds today that the present system of taxation to provide funding to meet this constitutional duty violates part II, article 5 of the State Constitution, because it is not reasonable or proportional. " nor wholesome. 
Joseph

Mission accomplished: Yesterday I did file the 5-page "ABATEMENT APPLICATION" (cover letter with 4-numbered pages) plus a copy of this Feb. 24th posting here on 2 pages of a printout and another page (last # 8) of the quoting from pages 4, 10 + 19 of the Eby case, with the Office workers for the Town Assessors/ Board of Selectmen in two towns where I own property.

Anybody else can do so too and ought to, if they want to take advantage of this in 2015 for the already over-paid school slices of the property taxes (local and state) in 2014.  This Eby case thanks to the Selectman in one town and where I talked about this in the other town with the 3-man Board last Fall where they invited Colin van Ostern, The Executive Councilor in to like Show Cause why he should not be found in contempt of the constitution and his RSA Chapter 92:2 oath of office for not doing his job of for the "advise and consent" needed by N.H. Article 5, Part the Second for HOW government is supposed to work, in that BEFORE any Tax Warrants are to issue (out of the DRA +/or the Selectmen/Assessors) this "shall" / must be done as a mandatory requirement, that really, thus ALL your property taxes charged against you be unlawful, but that I just go by this divide and conquer strategy, as I do agree to pay for the Town & County slices and did and do pay, but REFUSE on constitutional grounds both in the general and specific to pay those two school slices of the tax pie.  Here's what I printed at the bottom of page 2: "To please deduct the un-constitutional parts of both the local AND state-wide school slices of the tax pie as explained in the 2-page e-mail of this past Tue., Feb. 24th @ 3:07 p.m. and pages 4, 10 + 19 of the Eby case of June 13, 20-14 at the N.H. Supreme Court.
Here is a copy and paste of the parts of pages 4, 10  + 19 that I did Scotch-tape to the 8.5 x 11-inch page 8 of my application:
"We review the constitutionality of statutes de novo. N.H. Assoc. of Counties v. State of N.H., 158 N.H. 284, 288 (2009). “In reviewing a constitutional challenge to a legislative act, we presume the act to be constitutional and will not declare it invalid except on inescapable grounds; that is, unless a clear and substantial conflict exists between the act and the constitution.” City of Concord, 164 N.H. at 134. “A party may challenge the constitutionality of a statute by asserting a facial challenge, an as-applied challenge, or both.” Huckins v. McSweeney, ___ N.H. ___ (decided April 11, 2014) (quotation omitted). “A facial challenge is a head-on attack of a legislative judgment, an assertion that the challenged statute violates the Constitution in all, or virtually all, of its applications.” Id. (quotation omitted). “To prevail on a facial challenge to a statute, the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid.” Id. (quotation omitted). “An as-applied challenge, on the other hand, concedes that the statute may be constitutional in many of its applications, but contends that it is not so under the particular circumstances of the case.” Id. (quotation and brackets omitted). III   "  4
"Where we have found that a tax was unfair, unreasonable, or disproportionate, the constitutional deficiency has been of a much different character than the one the petitioners allege here. See Claremont School Dist. v. Governor, 142 N.H. 462, 470-71 (1997) (holding that property tax was a state tax and was thus disproportionate, unreasonable, and unfair because of discrepancies in tax rates of up to 400% between school districts);  " 10
" In the case of a taxpayer challenge to the constitutionality of an assessed tax, such an alternative, statutory scheme exists. RSA 21-J:28-b (2012) sets forth procedures for a taxpayer to appeal a tax assessment made by the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA). Under the statute, following a petition for redetermination and subsequent petition for reconsideration, a “taxpayer may appeal such decision by written application to the board of tax and land appeals or the superior court.” RSA 21-J:28-b, IV. The statute limits the legal issues to be considered on appeal to those raised in the prior petitions for redetermination and reconsideration, “with the exception that the taxpayer may raise additional legal claims addressing constitutional issues.” Id. (emphasis added). The procedures outlined in RSA 21-J:28-a (dealing with the refund or credit of overpayment of taxes) and :28-b are “the exclusive method by which taxpayers may challenge their liability for any tax, or the application to them of any provision” of the statutes governing the DRA. RSA 21-J:28-a, VI (2012). " 19 
Anthony

Everyone who is lamenting the high property taxes in NH seems to be forgetting a few important points. NH has the lowest sales tax rate of all the states, zero (a very regressive tax) and the lowest income tax rate of all the states (except for the few other states which also have no income tax). Doesn't this count for something? Shouldn't the issue be the extent to which NH taxes it citizens, not the rate of one particular form of tax?

Chuck

The state has published its 2015 tax rates. Those communities at the top:

  • Northumberland $34.69
  • Hopkinton $33.62
  • Allenstown $32.83

 

Joseph

Hey Lucy too for Greg also. 929-2665 (+ Cathy plus Anna) What are you DO-ing about this, if anything? I just tried AGAIN, and got that same message, but that THIS time I pressed the Report button. Plus a copy of the 3-page printout of this Tue., June 7th @ 12:47 p.m./ e-mail to you cc: State Rep. Kurt Wuelper of Strafford and others was just entered into my Civil Case #61 against Boscawen at The Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord yesterday (June 8th) . Maybe you or some reader, once they get to read this, might like to file an Amicus Curiea / Friend of the Court Brief? Yours truly, - - Joe

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