RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — William Schilling says he was surprised when he looked up his property tax status on the home he and his wife purchased in 2020. He found they've been overpaying ever since they moved in.
"So I pulled up our tax information on the Assessor's site and it said we were in the high cap bracket, so I was like how do we fix that?" he told us.
The way to fix it is by filling out a property tax cap claim form through the Assessor's office. While the county does send out notices, not everyone gets them or responds to them. And some people do fall through the cracks.
"We try our best by sending out those letters, put the information on our notices, on the tax bills, online, said Washoe County Assessor Chris Sarman. "But unfortunately I guess sometimes it does happen."
In Nevada there are two property tax brackets which limit how much your taxes can increase year to year. There's a higher bracket of 8 percent for investment properties and a lower bracket with a three percent cap which you qualify for if its your primary residence.
So we asked why people have to opt in to the lower bracket if that's what they qualify for?
Sarman says it's out of his hands.
"That's what the statute is," he explained.
Nevada state law requires you to opt in to get the lower tax rate.
As a test I asked Sarman to check my tax status, by entering my home address on the Assessor's website.
And guess what? Like our viewer William, I found I'm in the wrong bracket too.
Sarman was surprised to see that.
"So Joe, there you are," he said. "You've got a high cap. This is a great example, you are absolutely overpaying."
Lesson learned. Sarman says the error cost me a few hundred dollars last year.
"So you would want to contact our office, it's not too late to get this changed for this fiscal year," Sarman said.
For me it was a few hundred dollars. For others the price tag could be much higher.
William Schilling says he overpaid by more than one thousand dollars.
"You break it down over ten years that somebody's paid it, they've lost a lot of money," he said. "That could have been put other places."
The good news is there's an easy way to check this. Just go to the Washoe County Assessor's website, type in your address and check your tax cap status. If it's your primary residence you should have the low rate. If you have the high cap, you should contact the assessor to fill out the correct form and get it straightened out.
But again, it is up to you to spot it and get it straightened out.