Frequently Asked Questions (English)
Q: What do I own that is subject to taxes?
A: Three types of property are assessed and subject to taxes: Real Estate, Motor Vehicles, and Personal Property. Any land or buildings you own are considered real estate. Registered motorized or unmotorized vehicles, (including cars, trucks, trailers and motorcycles) are considered motor vehicles for tax purposes. Personal property is general category fixtures either owned or leased by business. Unregistered motor vehicles are also taxed as personal property.
Q: How is the tax rate established?
A: The property tax rate is expressed in mills, or thousandths of a dollar. A tax rate (mill rate) of 40.80 mills is equivalent to $40.80 in tax per $1,000 of net assessed value. The Board of Alders sets a mill rate annually.
Q: What is the best way to pay my tax bill?
A: The most convenient way to pay your tax bill is by mail. Be sure to include all bills that you wish to pay and write the bill numbers on the check. If you wish to have a receipt returned to you, please send all copies of your bills and a self-addressed stamped envelope with your payment. We will not send back your receipt if you fail to include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Q: What happens if I pay late?
A: Taxes are due on July 1, payable by August 1. You have a one-month “grace” period in which to pay without penalty. If August 1 falls on a weekend, you have the first business day in August to pay, in person or by mail (with U.S. postmark used as date of payment).
Bills in the amount of $100 or less are due in a single installment for real estate and personal property. Bills in excess of $100 are due in two installments. The second installment is due on January 1. The second installment also has the same “grace” period as the first installment.
Motor vehicle bills are due and payable in one installment.
Past due payments are subject to interest at the rate of one and one half percent per month from the due date of the tax (July 1), as required by state law. Payments made after the "grace" period are considered past due and will incur 3% interest, representing two months delinquency (July and August).
Q: Can the interest on my tax bill be waived?
A: No. The Tax Collector does not have the authority to waive interest and makes no exceptions. As owners of property, taxpayers are responsible to see that taxes are paid when due.
Q: What if I never receive a tax bill?
A: Failure to receive a tax bill does not exempt you from payment of all taxes and interest charges. If you do not receive a bill for which you are responsible, call the Tax Collector’s Office at 203-946-8054 and request a copy of the bill.
Q: If I am being improperly billed for a motor vehicle what should I do?
A: Contact your Assessor’s Office 203-946-4800. Do not ignore your bill! Even if your vehicle has been sold, and plates returned to DMV; stolen and not recovered; declared a total loss; or if you have moved from New Haven or moved out of Connecticut.
If any of these situations applies to you, you may be entitled to a credit. Contact the Assessor for information regarding the acceptable forms of proof for the issuance of a credit. Two forms of written proof are required, and you must apply for the credit within a limited time.
Q: I recently replaced a vehicle, and still got a bill on the old vehicle. Do I have to pay it?
A: Yes. If you replaced one vehicle with another, and used the same license plates, you will receive a pro-rated Supplemental motor vehicle tax bill in January for the new vehicle. You will receive a credit on the supplemental bill for the amount you pay now on the old vehicle. You will receive this credit without having to apply for it. However, you still must pay the entire amount due on the old vehicle. If you obtained new license plate for the new vehicle, you must apply for a credit. Contact the Assessors Office at 203-946-4800.
Q: I need to register my car. What do I need from the Tax Collector’s Office?
A: If you owe delinquent tax on any vehicle in your name, you may not renew any registrations at the Department of Motor Vehicles without paying your taxes first. All delinquent taxes in your name must be paid in full with cash, cashiers check or money order for an immediate clearance (stamp or release form). For payment made by check, clearance will be given after 10 business days.
Q: I have moved. What is my tax jurisdiction for motor vehicles?
A: Your tax town is your town of residency as of October 1. If you move from New Haven after October 1, but still reside in Connecticut, you will still pay vehicle taxes to New Haven. Municipalities within Connecticut do not apportion motor vehicle tax bills for portions of a tax year. If you register the vehicle in another state, contact he Assessor’s office.
If you move, you must notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of your new address within 48 hours. Be sure that you request a change of address on your driver’s license and on your vehicle registration (s).
Q: What is a “supplemental” motor vehicle tax bill?
A: If you newly registered a vehicle after October 1 (first time registration), you should expect to receive a pro-rated tax bill the following January. This “supplemental” bill will reflect the time from the month the vehicle was first registered, through September (the end of an assessment period).
Q: My real estate bill is supposed to be paid by mortgage company. What should I do?
A: If this is the case, you should immediately contact your lender and ask them to notify the tax office.
Q: How is motor vehicle assessment determined?
A: Standard price guidelines are used in determining the value of motor vehicles. Assessments for tax purposes are based upon 70% of average retail value, as determined by the NADA book.
Q: What are the hours of the Tax Collector?
A: The Tax Collector’s Office, located in the New Haven City Hall, 165 Church St. is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Q: Could I be eligible for any exemptions?
A: You may be. The exemption categories include, Veteran; spouse of a deceased veteran; blind; totally disabled, motor vehicle of a serviceman (active duty); farmers/merchants; and forest, farm and open space. For details about these exemptions, or if you think you may qualify, contact the Assessor’s office at 203-946-4800.
Q: Are there any breaks for senior citizens?
A: Yes. If you or your spouse are age 65 or older, permanently reside in New Haven (legal residence), either own your own home or rent, and meet certain income restrictions, you may be eligible for one or more forms of town or state-financed tax relief. To inquire about income eligibility requirements, or for information about these programs, contact the Assessor’s office at 203-946-4800.
Q: What period of time does a tax bill cover?
A: Motor vehicle and personal property tax bills that are due in July cover the time from the previous October to the current September.
There is no statutory rule concerning the time period covered by real estate tax bills. If you buy or sell real estate, adjustments for real estate taxes will be made by the attorneys who are handling the closing. Care should be taken to ensure taxes are paid, particularly when a closing occurs within sixty days of a tax due date.
Q: Do I need to save my receipts?
A: Yes. Taxpayers are advised to save their receipts for 15 years, the length of time during which municipal taxes are collectible.
Taxpayers should retain their own payment information for purposes of claiming tax credits and filling out their federal and state income tax forms.
Q: What if I think my assessment is too high?
A: Your first appeal should be directed to the Assessor, and then to the Board of Assessment Appeals, an elected board that meets in February and September. If you are dissatisfied with the Board’s decision, you may take your appeal to the Superior Court within 2 months of the board’s action. Appearance before the Board is required, but you do not need to hire an attorney. All documentation substantiating your appeal should be presented at that time. For more information about the appeals process, contact the Assessor’s office at 203-946-4800.