Rhode Island

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State of Rhode Island Property Taxes


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State Tax Summary
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The state of Rhode Island names the real property tax Property Tax. The official value standard states that full and true value in money is “a locally determined uniform percentage of full and fair cash value not defined by statute.” Rhode Island statues, as amended. Tax relief for veterans and tax sale and delinquent tax criteria varies greatly among the thirty-nine cities and towns. Each municipality determines annually their type and value of tax. The state of Rhode Island has exemptions for veterans, old age and persons with disabilities. Exemptions are also given for government, religious, charitable, educational property and hospitals and cemeteries. There are three steps in the appeal process: an informal meeting with the local tax assessor, a formal written appeal to the local board of assessment, and a formal appeal to the Superior Court of Rhode Island.

The property tax is levied on the market value. Real and personal property is taxed by local taxing entities. In addition, local entities may levy three additional ad valorem taxes and the state government may levy three additional ad valorem taxes. Local entities may authorize eight different types of taxes instead of ad valorem property taxes. Some of the different types of taxes were created to reduce taxes on individuals as an economic development tool. Personal exemptions are for homeowners, renters, seniors, those with disabilities and veterans. Municipalities may grant exemptions for blind persons, solar, wind powered, and wood heating energy system or pollution control facility exemptions. There is personal property tax and motor vehicle tax. Cemeteries, hospitals, government, religious, charitable, and educational property are exempt. A property owner has three levels of appeal available to protest a valuation notice. The Boston Area Service Center (ASC) provides tax service for Rhode Island.


Contents

Responsible agency

  • State of Rhode Island
  • Department of Administration
  • Office of Municipal Affairs
  • One Capitol Hill
  • Providence, Rhode Island 02908-5873
  • Voice (401) 277-2885
  • FAX (401) 277-3809

Property tax calendar

  • Assessment date December 1
  • Valuation Notice Date Notices are sent annually.
  • Appeal Deadline 3 months after mailing of notice
  • Bill Payment Date There is one billing and four installment due dates. The dates vary by municipality. Each municipality establishes the installment amounts. For Providence, the due dates are: July 24, October 24, January 24 and April 24. For Cranston and Warwick, the due dates are July 15, October 15, January 15 and April 15.

Property tax rates and dates

  • Annual assessment of real property Yes
  • Classification of property Residential land is Class I and assessed at 100%.
  • Collections Taxes are collected one year in arrears from September 1 through August 30.
  • Fiscal year July 1 through June 30.

Some municipalities operate on an irregular fiscal year and the collection year coincides with the fiscal year.

  • Level of government responsible for assessment Municipality, Town
  • Reassessment cycle Every 10 years
  • Tax Calculation Rate

Tax calculation rates vary by taxing authority with rates reduced by state aid provided. For example: Cranston: $32.59 ($18.25 is school and $14.34 is municipal; Newport: $25.10 ($10.54 is school and $14.56 is municipal; South Kingston: $17.90 ($$14.09 is school and $3.81 is municipal).

Residential Exemptions

Exemption claims must be filed to receive exemption from specially treated property. An exemption will reduce the local assessed value of property and a credit will reduce the amount of tax due. There are six categories of residential exemptions: blind person, elderly, Gold Star Parent, totally disabled, veteran and homestead exemption.

  • Blind person exemption

An application may be approved for a blind person that is a homeowner to qualify for a blind person exemption of property taxes. Exemption amounts vary for municipalities.

  • Elderly exemption

An application may be approved for a Rhode Island resident that is 65 years of age or older and meets eligibility requirements of income to qualify for property tax relief credit. The tax credit is against state personal income tax by filing the form RI-1040h. If the claimant does not file state income tax return, the RI-1040h form may be filed by itself and the maximum credit will be $200 per year. Total household income must be $12,500 or less.

  • Gold Star Parent exemption

Parents of veterans killed during foreign wars or conflicts are eligible for an exemption of $3000 and must apply for the Gold Star Parent exemption on a Rhode Island form.

  • Homestead exemption

Homestead property tax reductions are for low-income seniors at least 65 years of age or persons totally disabled, or surviving spouses at least 59 years of age if the deceased had received the reduction. The homestead property tax reduction is also for handicapped and disabled persons. A residence of a legally blind, deaf or severely hearing impaired person may be exempt for $15,000 of a homestead appraised value. Home improvement values to accommodate a persons with disabilities may be exempt by the local tax authority.

  • Totally disabled exemption

An application may be approved for a Rhode Island resident that is totally disabled and receives Social Security disability payments and meets eligibility requirements of income to qualify for property tax relief credit. The tax credit is against state personal income tax by filing the form RI-1040h. If the claimant does not file state income tax return, the RI-1040h form may be filed by itself and the maximum credit will be $200 per year. Total household income must be $12,500 or less.

  • Veterans exemption

An application may be approved for an honorably discharged disabled veteran in a principal residence that requires adapted housing because of disability and the adaptations were acquired with assistance from the Veterans Administration. Veterans may received a property tax credit or rebate on their residential property. This credit is allowed to the surviving spouse. Each of thirty-nine municipalities determine the value and type of veteran exemption. Refer to a booklet entitled “Veterans’ Exemptions of R.I. Cities and Towns 1993.”

Commercial Exemptions

  • Agriculture Personal property exemption

Farm land, forest, and open lands are valued on basis of current use. A land owner that meets a test of public benefit, but does not meet the criteria for an open-space exemption, may apply for a discretionary easement to a local entity for a term of 10 or more years in exchange for property taxed at values equal with open-space usage.

  • Conservation property

A taxpayer must file a declaration with the local county assessor to claim an exemption for a seawall, jetty, groin or dike for the control or prevention of flooding or erosion caused by waters and apply for exemption that is not greater than the assessment for open-space land. Assessment provisions excludes developed land.

  • Pollution control property

A taxpayer must file a declaration to exempt property used exclusively for water or air pollution control. The Tax Commissioner and local authorities may provide financial incentives for voluntary cleanup of property contaminated with hazardous materials.

  • Rehabilitation district

Local governments may grant abatements and establish obsolete property rehabilitation districts for rehabilitated commercial property and commercial housing property located in historic districts.

  • Urban and enterprise zones

Local governments may grant exemption from real property and tangible personal property tax to businesses to encourage development in decaying urban areas for jobs and enterprise zones.

Tax Collector and Officials

Tax assessors in Rhode Island are elected or appointed to four year terms. A high school diploma is required and special education and certification is required. County property tax maps are mandatory and equalization is mandatory. The state ratio studies are accessible to the public. The municipal treasurer is the ex-officio collector in all counties. Municipal Assessors maintain and set property valuations. The municipal Auditor certifies property valuations. The Municipal Treasurer collects current and delinquent property tax.

Forms

  • Supervisor of Tax Equalization
  • Department of Administration
  • Office of Municipal Affairs
  • One Capitol Hill
  • Providence, Rhode Island 02908-5873
  • Voice (401) 277-2885
  • FAX (401) 277-3809

Specific deduction claim forms are available from the Department of Administration online and guidelines are online.

Forms due dates

Applications for deductions against real property must be filed with an affidavit to the local tax collector in Rhode Island and must be filled again if the property changes owners. All deductions for real property require ownership must be recorded as of January 1 of the assessment year for taxes payable the following year. Manufactured and mobile homes, on private land, must be owned by January 1 to be eligible for the deductions to be applied to the tax bill for that year and is taxed as real property.

State assessor's manual

Rhode Island does not publish a state issued manual.

How property tax determined

Residential property and land is assessed at 100% of market value and the assessor determines the fair market value. The assessor may use one of three methods.

  • Cost Approach

At current labor and material prices, estimate how much it would take to replace the property with one similar to it. Use this method when there are no sales of comparable properties.

  • Income Approach

For an apartment or office building, estimate how much income the property can produce.

  • Market Approach

Use other comparable properties that have sold recently, determine the most probable sales price of the subject property.

Appeal Procedure

All administrative appeals must be exhausted before appealing for a judicial review. The taxpayer must pay current property tax under protest before any appeal to a court. There are three levels of appeal in Rhode Island.

  • First

Try to resolve the problem in an informal meeting with the local municipal tax assessor. The appeal deadline is three months after the written tax notice is mailed.

  • Second

Next, if not satisfied with the formal meeting, file a formal appeal with the Local Board of Assessment Review within 30 days.

  • Third

If not satisfied, appeal in writing to the Superior Court of Rhode Island.

Additional tax classifications

  • Agricultural property tax

All farm machinery, livestock and poultry used in qualified farming, and any farmland, forest, and open space land may be exempt from property tax.

  • Manufacturing and industrial property tax

New qualified manufacturing machinery and equipment acquired, owned, or used by a qualified manufacturer may be exempt from property tax. This exemption applies to businesses in the state of Rhode Island and does not apply to a business that relocates to Rhode Island.

  • Pollution control tax

Any property acquired to provide a qualified treatment facility for control contamination of water or are, or to control pollution may be tax exempt.

  • Personal property tax

Personal Property is Class II. Motor vehicles are Class III.

  • Tax sale or deed transfer

If there is a prior year tax amount due, a tax sale is usually help in the spring. Some town have three tax sales a year: spring, fall and winter. Redemption periods vary in each municipality. Three sever examples are for Middletown, Coventry Town and Newport City. If by March 1 any part of an installment for the first or second quarter is not paid, the property can go for sale at a property tax sale in early April, May, June or August. The homeowner must set a payment plan with the local taxing authority to avoid a tax sale.

Additional tax bills and charges

  • Construction Work in Progress

Local cities and towns may adopt provisions to issue prorated bills based on the incomplete and partial completion of a building value as of December 31. These prorated bills are issued within 30 days after the certificate of occupancy permit is issued. The prorated bills are issued in the property owner’s name on record as of December 31 and mailed in care of the new owner. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to pay any additional tax bill.

  • Corrected bill

When an error is found on the original tax statement or when property owners go before the Board of Appeals, resulting in tax increases or decreases, a correct bill is issued when the corrections are made. Corrected bills are also issued when levy rates are wrong, the house is on the wrong tax lot and for homeowner exemption.

  • Delinquent taxes

Delinquent balances are applied to subsequent bills. A taxpayer may apply to have late charges, interest and property taxes canceled due to undue hardship or property damaged by a casualty loss event . No notices are sent for delinquent taxes in Rhode Island.

  • Mobile homes

If the land and the mobile home are owned by the same person, then the mobile home is assessed as real property for property taxes. Valuation notices are sent in January every 6 years.

  • Penalty and Interest charges

Interest and penalties are determined annually by the municipality and vary for each municipality. For Exeter Town, any portion of an installment that is not paid by the due date is delinquent for the whole year. Interest will accrue for entire year, although payments can be accepted and interest will continue until entire bill is paid in full. For Providence City, the entire year is delinquent if any portion of the first installment is not paid by the due date. Interest will accrue for entire year, although payments can be accepted and interest will continue until entire bill is paid in full.

Current Legislation and Pending Issues

References





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