What a way to start a Monday. It began with the dentist appointment to have the permanent crown fitted. The appointment wasn’t so bad, but the $477 co-pay was a touch painful. From there I went to Middletown town hall to pay our motor vehicle taxes.
"But you don’t live in Middletown any more. You moved last October." I hear you say. There is nothing to spawn confusion like Connecticut motor vehicle taxes. After laying out another $200 (so much for that last paycheck – did I mention that the electric bill came yesterday?), I strolled across the hall and had the assessor explain it.
When we lived in Middletown, we had my Focus and Bob’s Neon. They were (obviously) registered in Middletown, and we paid taxes there. So far, so simple. Last October we moved from Middletown to Burlington, and changed the address on the car registrations accordingly. I also went to town hall and settled up all of our taxes. My error was in not changing those registrations the day after we closed on the house. It was a HUGE error. You live, you learn. But I digress. In May, Bob bought a new Focus and transferred the plates from the Neon over to it. This car has never been in Middletown.
Early this month I got tax bills. A bill for the Neon, due no later than July 31; a bill for my Focus, due no later than July 31; and the second half for my Focus, due no later than December 31. "But we don’t live there anymore." says I. "The cars haven’t been in Middletown since last October. How can I have a tax bill for July – December of 2007 when they *haven’t been in Middletown since 2006?!*" Oh, and we don’t even OWN the Neon any more. So I asked when I paid the taxes, and she told me that I’d be credited for the May-September portion of the Neon bill on my supplemental bill for the new car. That would be the car that has NEVER been in Middletown. So I went and talked to the assessor.
I love Connecticut taxes. They’re so delightfully... weird.
Here’s what I understand: the Grand List is a snapshot in time that is taken on October 1, which is why I should have moved the cars when we closed in August. So the snapshot in time of the 2006 Grand List was taken on October 1, 2006, and is in effect until September 30, 2007. This is why I’m still getting bills from Middletown – my cars were there for the snapshot, and it doesn’t matter where they went afterwards – I owe for the entire 2006 tax year. But here’s the real clincher – motor vehicle taxes follow the *plates*, not the actual vehicle. The vehicle they’re sitting on just provides the number that goes on your check. So when we transferred Bob’s plates to his new car during that 2006 tax year, it made the new car (garaged and registered in Burlington), taxable in Middletown. So in December we will get a supplemental tax bill from Middletown for the 2007 Focus for May 17 – September 30, 2007. Which is just cracked. A new "snapshot" will be taken this October 1, and our first tax bills ever from Burlington will arrive in July of 2008. At that point we will have been resident in the town for almost two calendar years.
Who came up with this system? What were they on at the time? <sigh> At least I know what’s going on. I would have gone through the roof in December otherwise. So I’ve got one more trip to Middletown town hall in my future. Until everything has successfully transitioned to Burlington, I’m paying my bill in person and getting the "Paid" stamp. Just in case I have to prove anything.