Maricopa County Assessor Denies 70 Year-Old Veteran Senior Valuation Benefit

maricopa county assessors office
The now scandal plague Maricopa County Assessor’s Office has denied rightful benefits to a 70 year-old veteran. [Photo courtesy Maricopa County Assessor’s Office]

Dear Editor,

We (my father) bought our home in 1965. It was transferred to me (he died a few years ago) and I’m now 70 years old. By all current standards I am now a senior.

A few weeks ago, Maricopa County Assessor/Treasurer sent me a house tax ALMOST DOUBLING my previous few years rate,  claiming I no longer qualified for “Senior Valuation.”

I haven’t gotten younger in the last few years and my only income still is Social Security and a small Veteran’s disability payment. That income was increased by 1% a couple years ago due to COLA. As any of you who live on a below poverty minuscule fixed income, every penny counts.  If an expense goes up in one place you have to cut it somewhere else (like food, utility, etc.).

I called and talked to the Assessor’s office. They said they had not received my “updated” application to renew the Senior Valuation and are therefore increasing it…. almost doubling it.  Too bad, so sad.

I searched my files and found a copy of what I had sent them. I faxed it to them and they then said it does not serve as proof since the original was not sent in “Certified Mail” or had I gone into the Assessor’s office and got a receipt.  Who does that?  How many fill out an application and then go to the Post Office, and pay to send it Certified Mail. Where does it say to send it Certified Mail …  it doesn’t.

Interesting that the copies I sent contain date stamps from Social Security and the Veterans Department on the faxes from them verifying my income – both are ahead of the date on the application which is prior to their deadline. Maricopa Assessor will not accept. It’s their own application.

Is the Post Office at fault?  Or has the Maricopa Assessor/Treasurer misplaced the original filing?

The answer to this is that the Maricopa Assessor/Treasurer is forcing a senior, a veteran, a person who has not missed a tax payment in 50 years to lose their home.  I cannot afford their almost doubling of my home taxes and will therefore be forced to sell.  Then what?

How many other seniors has this bureaucracy made homeless?

By way of disclosure, I have someplace to go, fortunately. Nevertheless, I am being forced to go by this bureaucracy. Where do those go that have no where else?

Duane Loftus
Maricopa County

9 Comments

  1. Hi Nesya and thanks for your comment. Yes you and I did the same thing. Except they say they did not receive it. Did you send it in “Certified Mail”. They say I should have.

  2. I am a veteran and also an experienced property tax agent, that for several decades, has worked with many non-profit charitable organizations with exemption issues that they have encountered with the Maricopa County Assessors Office. I would be happy to help you pro-bono to at least see if there are any remedies with an appeal, however, the consistent message is if you did not file timely the assessors hands are tied, so maybe it would take the legislature to consider the penalty for not filing timely to be too punitive and to amend the property tax exemption laws to allow a filing under the error and correction statutes. The right thing to do is if you truly qualify, is to grant the exemption or at a minimum advise you on how you can make it right in the future. I will say that the exemptions department has been much improved from what it used to be, but you must know when and how to file timely to qualify for an exemption. Please feel free to contact me at jeff.nolan@ryan.com

  3. The thieving so and so’s and their cronies brag about not raising taxes, but then pull these kind of stunts or just simply raise everyone’s valuation. Fight ’em, Duane — what’s wrong is wrong, and there’s a lot wrong these days and a lot of fights to be fought.

  4. Duane, Appeal the appraisal to the State Board of Equalization. Contact Keith Andziewicz at the Assessor’s Office. 602-372-3052. Keith is a man of integrity and will fix the County’s extortion of your $$$ forcing you to sell your house.

    • Arek, thank you. I’ll contact the State Board of Equalization as you suggest. My main concern here is not for me (although I can’t afford the increase) but the many who this is happening to that have no place other to go. Thanks again.

  5. This type of property taxing is happening in all circumstances lately. The tax appraisal office in our area of Texas has tripled and quadrupled property taxes this year making it difficult for people who cannot afford to keep their homes now. And of course, their office will tell you that YOU didn’t do something correctly, which is code for THEY want more money. The appraisal district is a disgrace to people; thieves of the highest of thieves because they can get away with it.

  6. Duane, it seems like what you have, and are, going through happens quite a bit more often than young people care to think. Mostly because the “government” thinks they can get away with outright theft of property if a Senior may not be able to fight back. Having a limited income certainly fits the bill on that account. I wish you good luck on your hope for a peaceful existence!

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