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Old 05-13-2020, 06:39 PM
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Default Connecticut CT Registration / Vehicle Property Tax - Be aware or Beware!

I've posted this in a few other forums, but wanted to share here as well, since I know folks will be going to CT inspections (at some point) this spring. You need to be sure you get your car titled / registered as a 1965, or you could be exposed to this same unethical taxation crap that I am. For 2019, Middletown, CT raised the vehicle property tax on my 2004 factory five by 1800% to $1152!

Getting your car registered as a 1965 provides the ability to get Historic plates, which keeps the annual vehicle tax at a low, fixed amount.

https://portal.ct.gov/DMV/Inspection...osite-Vehicles

At the time of inspection a VIN will be assigned by the Inspector. The year assigned to the vehicle will be the year in which the vehicle was built or the year of a previously manufactured vehicle that it most closely resembles. On your registration and title documents, the make will be specified as "Composite".
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:45 PM
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Here's my story to hopefully help fellow members:

When mine was titled in 2004, CT DMV didn't have the provision to title in "the year of a previously manufactured vehicle that it most closely resembles". For 2004 - 2018, the annual tax was a reasonable amount. For 2019, Middletown raised my vehicle property tax by 1800%, on a 15 year old factory five kit!

2019:
When I first received the 2019 tax bill, I initially had my wife call the assessor’s office (she’s familiar with the car and taxes). He told her that it’s difficult to assess these cars, therefore Autotrader was used to assess it. He said these cars range in market value, many well above $60 - 80K, therefore the assessment on ours was ‘reasonable’. He gave no indication on why the assessment changed in 2019. He stated we could appeal it in September 2019 at a session specific to challenging assessments.

I followed up with a call to the assessor’s office. He started out by saying that he already explained the assessment when I (my wife) called, and again repeated we could come in September to provide documentation of a different value.

I asked him where he arrived at the assessment value, and this time he stated Google. I questioned him on the use of Google as an assessment tool, and he said it’s in his right to use it and stands by it. I stated he told my wife he used autotrader, and he didn’t have a good response.

When I mentioned there are many different kits and build standards, he didn’t really acknowledge, except to suggest I should have put my brand (Factory Five) on the title in 2004. Such great guidance.

I asked him if he really thought it was reasonable to increase the assessment so much, and he stated yes. I asked if this was your car, would you think so? He said he’d never buy a car like this (note: I built mine ). He said if it was him, he’d just be happy to enjoy the prior years lower assessments.

The conversation didn’t improve from there, and he even said "do you think I’m going to change my mind after this 9 minute phone call?”. Nice, now the assessor can apparently assess cars based on emotion and Google.

I told him that actions like these are damaging the hobby and could potentially drive me to sell the car. I couldn’t help but also comment that these type of taxation actions are pushing people and companies (GE, UTC, etc) out of Connecticut.

“Any more questions?", and he quickly got off the phone. I called back, got his name and ‘deputy' position, and he quickly got off again.

So I submitted the appeal.

I went to the assessment appeal board in early September 2019. The board is supposed to consist of 3 members reviewing the appeals. It did not. Instead, they had each appellant meet with only one board member, and supposedly that one board member presents the appeal to the other two. This deviation from the 3-panel board gives the taxpayer less of a forum to successfully present their appeal.

So I presented my appeal to the one board member, who seem to know very little about cars and how they are assessed. I presented (in powerpoint format!) the differences between a Factory Five and high priced kits like Superformance; explained "what it is" vs. "what it's not". I also showed the cost of my kit at the time of purchase in 2002 (17 years ago!) and examples of Factory Five and Superformance cars for sales.

By the end of September, I received a response in the mail. DECLINED. Declined, with no justification.

2020:
Since the town failed to hold a proper 3-panel board back in September (and denied my appeal), I attempted to resubmit my appeal for February. The day of the appeal, the tax assessor informed me that I could not re-appeal.

Either way, I joined the appeals conference call at my time slot. Once again, the town only had one board member on the call to hear the appeals (not just my appeal). She stated I couldn't re-appeal it. I questioned her on why the prior September appeal was declined, and much like the assessor, couldn't address why the prior appeal was declined or why the sudden 1800% increase in annual tax.

So here's the funny part, and shows how sneaky / weak the town assessor is. In the beginning of the call, after the single board member joined, the tax assessor joins the call. This was the type of conference call where you state your name prior to the system putting you through. The system announces 'Damon', but he never introduces himself or speaks the entire call! At one point during the call, I ask if he's on the line, and he doesn't speak up or acknowledge me when I call him by name and ask about the assessment. So sneaky! No balls.

The town has developed quite the scheme. Raise taxes with no justification, stifle the taxpayer‘s voice by only allowing access to one appeal board member, then decline the appeal. The only way for me to contest further is to spend more money on superior court (and likely lawyer) fees.

I'm likely faced with paying $1150 for the next four years until it reached 20 years in age. Considering I scrutinized every dollar I invested in this car, it kills me that after 16 years of the car being registered, I now have to fork over $1150 annual (will be well over $5000 over 5 years) due to the money grabbing, corrupt actions of the Middletown Tax Office.

After the COVID situation settles down, I plan to engage our Middletown Mayor, Congressmen (it's an election year!), or the newspaper, to investigate the tax office. Maybe SEMA?

Folks need to weight the risk of paying an annual tax of $1000 per year for a 20-year term, before making the kit investment.
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Old 05-13-2020, 07:20 PM
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Thankfully, we have a cottage in Maine so my ERA was always registered in the State of Maine while I cruised CT roads. Never had to deal with CT’s crazy inspection process. Just wait and see how CT taxes go through the roof due to the China virus...

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Old 05-13-2020, 07:58 PM
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So why didn't you pursue getting your year of manufacture reset to 1965? That would be given to someone registering the same vehicle now and it is not your fault they made an error when you first brought it in.


We left New England because of the tax situation. MA is very similar in that tax rates for everything are set by the town. That plus using diesel fuel for heat was insanely stupid.
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:04 PM
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You know you can get a courtesy reinspection and change to 1965 Composite Cobra right? I mean not now, but for the last 5 years atleast.
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:15 PM
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There is a political quip that goes something like, 'eventually you get the government you deserve'. The implication being that you have elected these officials and eventually when there is a preponderance of their tax and spend crowd around — that is exactly what they will do! The have no understanding about what they are taxing other than it is a way to raise revenue for their bloated budgets to support their profligate spending habits / predilections.

The short term fix is going to cost you attorneys fees, if it is fixable at all. The longer term fix is to throw those jerks out of office and cut the spending, which everyone will be in favor of until it is their ox that gets gored. That will bring us back to the unlikely prospect of having the tax demon brought under control. Eventually you either move out to a more tax friendly state or keep writing progressively bigger and bigger checks.

Don't forget the other front they can cause you heartburn on, annual DMV inspections! If you live in a nanny state (and Connecticut is) the only likely fix, in your lifetime, is moving to another less tax hungry state. Tough medicine but reality.

BTW you guys are almost as bad as California. Not quite there yet but definitely moving up the totem pole.


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Old 05-14-2020, 04:28 AM
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I just went through this in CT with my Superformance MKII 5 months ago. The DMV refused to title it as a 1963 even though all of the original paperwork and Bill of Origin clearly said 1963 on it. It used to be that CT would title composite vehicles as the year in which it most closely resembles, but apparently not any more. Presumably this is so they can charge more in taxes, which is clearly what others are now saying is happening, even on cars that have been previously already registered as a 1965 car.

When I voiced my objection at the DMV when I registered it, they claimed that I was wrong about there already being cars in the state that were titled as the year they most closely resembled, because that could never happen in CT. It was obvious to me at that point that the DMV has their marching orders to find ways to collect the maximum taxes on vehicles and this is how they are doing it. By titling it in the year the Bill of Origin was actually printed, they charge as though it was just any other car and not a composite vehicle. Oh, you still get the benefit of not having to go through bi-annual climate change hoax emission testing, but they are going to get their pound of flesh from you in higher property taxes on your car. And don’t even get me started on their vehicle inspection “experts” in Wethersfield. They failed me the first time I went there because it did not have a cheap set of seat belts in it with a particular DOT label on it, even though the belts in it are approved for use on any high speed race track in the country. So I had to put a set of cheap belts in it and then trailer it back to them one more time. The real truth is the CT DMV hates cars like ours and loves Prius’s or anything that doesn’t use gasoline. CT DMV is the CA mini-me. I fully expect to see them adopt an SB100 type process next. I also expect my Cobra will be taxed based on it’s year of manufacture and not as a composite vehicle used to be taxed, even though they still put composite vehicle on the title. They just refused to put the year it most closely resembles so they can collect more tax revenue for a state that they have already bankrupted and are looking for ways to charge more wherever possible. They view composite vehicle owners as a small minority that they can do without. It is what it is in Connecticutstan. And they still wonder why people are leaving the state in droves just like in CA. Go figure.

BTW, there are still a lot of people here that didn’t vote for any of the leftist clowns running this state. We just don’t have enough dead people and illegal voters voting for common sense anymore, like the people elected do. Those of us who don’t vote for them are all living behind enemy lines here. Not unlike those people in CA that are trapped.
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Old 05-14-2020, 04:41 AM
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Hey guys - thanks for the quick responses yesterday. I'm working the retitling process to 1965, but progress has been a challenge. I've gotten mixed feedback from different departments at DMV.

Ed - you nailed it "The have no understanding about what they are taxing". The deputy assessor even admitted that when we spoke over the phone!

Yes, the taxes in CT suck. It's one thing to buy a $100K car, knowing the 'price to play' in annual taxes and whatnot. It's another to get abused by the tax assessor on a 16 year old kit car. The assessors probably never turned a wrench in their lives! No balls, they are so jealous.

I think the path here is either the car gets properly titled at 1965 so historic plates can be applied, or the car is sold out of state. Then they get no money.

Cashburn - I'd like to talk more on the courtesy reinspection. Is this Jay? Can I call you at the number in your autosig?

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You know you can get a courtesy reinspection and change to 1965 Composite Cobra right? I mean not now, but for the last 5 years atleast.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:31 AM
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MA is very similar in that tax rates for everything are set by the town.
....Ma hates Kit/Continuation or anything that says Cobra. They will take your sales tax right away (whatever it is in the "book" ) then the fun starts. Go get it inspected for a sticker. It will fail. Once Ma sees this move by Ct I am sure they will get it a whirl.
......Have 1 house left in Ma. Hopefully selling in a year. In NH we have a lake house and a Farm!! Thank God. Now IF NH would hurry up an open the damm state!! Ma can stay closed. Have to go into Boston every other week . Only a 35 min ride now instead of an hour +
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:31 AM
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It has been posted here, I donít know the users name off hand that they have done it. I have done courtesy reinspections in Wethersfield for out of state vehicles so I have first hand experience there, but not with the year change aspect.

As for other poster, the current inspectors are excellent if you are polite and go prepared (the belt issue has been documented here for awhile). If you had experienced the prior versions of the inspection process you would understand. It is also important that you bring documentation of the law with you so any DMV staff you encounter can be reminded of it. When you hit a roadblock at the DMV, the best move is to leave and goto another office or return another day.

I took a car through inspection in November and registered in Hamden as 1965 with no issue (inspection in Wethersfield).
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Old 05-14-2020, 06:04 AM
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I had always thought that once a car was titled, it was illegal to change it?

Taxation. Such a beautiful thing !!!

What CT needs to do, is to raise the state tax on capital gains an additional 20% to make up for the "federal discount" that has been going on for years for the benefit of the ultra rich.
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Old 05-14-2020, 06:55 AM
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That's a frustrating story to hear as a CT resident. The state is in dire straits and I'm sure they're looking at every revenue stream possible. I have an ERA that is titled and registered as a '66 because that was the year the engine was made so I guess that flies. Hopefully they're not going to try to change the rules in the middle of the game but all signs point to that they will based on what I know about this state. Bottom line is I've got to move. My votes never change anything.

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Old 05-14-2020, 12:28 PM
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For those that do vote with their feet and move, remember why you did what you did. Your old state whether CA, MI, NY, CT, MA, NJ, IL or any other profligate entitlement spending Blue state will eventually find themselves out of tax dollars and in a position essentially petitioning for federal tax dollars to "balance" their budget deficits. It is happening at the Federal level right now with the current proposed phase 3 pandemic relief bill. All the usual suspects have their hands out trying to dump the price of their liberal largesse on our door step. There is absolutely no reason the other fiscally responsible states should underwrite the Blue nanny states deficit entitlement spending proclivities.

If a state wants to spend tax dollars like a drunken sailor (apologies to the Navy vets, I'm using the figurative saying, no bad on you guys) then you get to enjoy the hangover and headache the next morning. Don't want the pain? Then cut back the nanny state entitlements!

There is no free money! We always end up having to pay it back.


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Old 05-14-2020, 01:11 PM
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Courtesy inspections in CT, as I understand it, only apply for a vehicle that you already own and have registered out of state and wish to now register In CT. Like if you move here and bring the car with you. It does not apply to a car that you just bought or you already have registered in CT. I wish that had been an option in 2007 when I wanted to register another component car. It would have saved me a lot of grief with the DMV then.

I beg to differ about the inspectors in Wethersfield. Most I have encountered are certainly not car guys and some can be very rude. I had reams of documentation and copies of the law the first time I went there and it made no difference to them. When I registered my Noble in 2007, amongst other crazy claims, they tried to accuse me of having an illegal title from the state I was moving from where it had been registered, simply because it didn’t have a 17 digit VIN number on it. Some states are not like CT and actually use the manufacturer’s VIN regardless of the number of digits as was the case for my car. In that case I had to get a person with high level connections in the state to intervene on my behalf just so I could register my car.

The truth of the matter is some of the inspectors there clearly don’t like their jobs (except for the pension?) and are on a power trip there. That type of inspector loves to reject cars for stupid reasons knowing that the owner will have to go through the hassle of trailering the car back there again. This time around, when I went there the first time with the Cobra in early November, the guy refused to even inspect my car after peeking at it in the trailer, simply because it didn’t have their preferred cheap seat belts in it. I told him, look, you have to know that even if it had those seat belts in it when you inspect it, they will be replaced with exactly what you see in it now as soon as a car like this leaves this place. For him it was black and white. That’s how they think.

So I waited and went back on Christmas Eve knowing they would probably have people there then who would be more interested in getting home than spending a lot of time looking at cars and hoping the first guy I ran into wouldn’t be there. I was right, it sailed right through and that inspector this time never once looked at the seat belts. All he wanted to see was the VIN on the frame, a cursory look in the engine compartment and at the chassis underneath while on the hoist and I was out of there with the inspection approval in about 10 minutes. Exactly how it should have gone the first time IMO just because the Superformance cars are so well built to begin with. You don’t have to be a master mechanic to be able to see that either.

It’s a crap shoot every time I have been to Wethersfield and it is always an adventure if you get one of the jerks like I did more often than not. A little courtesy toward the vehicle owners would go a long way toward making it a more pleasant experience for all involved. There is a big difference between “just doing my job” and doing a job well. Something that seems to be lost on most public servants these days, especially in a state like CT where they don’t feel they work for the people.
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaider View Post
For those that do vote with their feet and move, remember why you did what you did. Your old state whether CA, MI, NY, CT, MA, NJ, IL or any other profligate entitlement spending Blue state will eventually find themselves out of tax dollars and in a position essentially petitioning for federal tax dollars to "balance" their budget deficits. It is happening at the Federal level right now with the current proposed phase 3 pandemic relief bill. All the usual suspects have their hands out trying to dump the price of their liberal largesse on our door step. There is absolutely no reason the other fiscally responsible states should underwrite the Blue nanny states deficit entitlement spending proclivities.

If a state wants to spend tax dollars like a drunken sailor (apologies to the Navy vets, I'm using the figurative saying, no bad on you guys) then you get to enjoy the hangover and headache the nest morning. Don't want the pain? Then cut back the nanny state entitlements!

There is no free money! We always end up having to pay it back.


Ed
What you say is correct about the industrial states and east coast. New Yorkers that leave for Florida by and large leave Florida like it was (although that seems to be changing.) California exiles are the worst. They complain and whine about how bad the situation in CA is, and then move to Las Vegas and Phoenix and then make those places into little Californias.
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:45 PM
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What you say is correct about the industrial states and east coast. New Yorkers that leave for Florida by and large leave Florida like it was (although that seems to be changing.) California exiles are the worst. They complain and whine about how bad the situation in CA is, and then move to Las Vegas and Phoenix and then make those places into little Californias.

You're so right, Tony!

The CA expatriates go to good healthy states and attempt to restart the California insanity one more time. A significant number of them are modern day Trojan Horses.


Ed
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Old 05-14-2020, 04:09 PM
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This is Wild. No matter what site I go to someone brings up Ct. I left there 40 years ago and never touched the stuff since then. This is the only state in which I look up the Demographics over the years, and the populations are going down. I have a lot of friends that are moving to Florida. I tell them when you leave the state, leave your voters card there too.
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:46 AM
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Appreciate your insight fellas. I hope I can raise awareness and caution for others. My intention wasn't to make the thread political, but I guess when taxes are involved, it's inevitable. Again, taxes are one thing, raising the tax 1800% on a 16 year old car is just unethical and corrupt.

As I mentioned above, once as the COVID news settles down, I'm planning to reach out to the Hartford Courant and news investigator teams to see if they will take my story and possibly have the office investigated. Hopefully drive some pain. Maybe reach out to SEMA, the Middletown mayor and congressmen as well.

As for DMW, I have a buddy who will be going to inspection once they are reopened. I will be curious if he gets 1965 or 2020.
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Old 05-16-2020, 02:34 PM
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The government (lawyers) make up the rules as they go along, change them any time they wish to, and interpret them any way they wish to, and then differently from time to time. It's hard to keep with them.
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:09 PM
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There is a political quip that goes something like, 'eventually you get the government you deserve'.

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We keep having to remind these folks that they are our employees! Find out where they live, and find out what they are doing wrong and report it to the FBI & IRS!

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