New research confirms for the umpteenth time that there literally is a tax on Blackness, in that tax assessors across the country regularly burden Black and brown homeowners with property tax bills that are higher than those levied on Whites.
Analyzing more than a decade (2005–2016) of sales and tax assessment data for 118 million homes in 75,000 local taxing entities, two economists, Carlos Avenancio-León and Troup Howard, found that Black households pay 13 percent more in property taxes each year than would a white family in a comparable situation. For brown households, the “assessment gap” is closer to 10 percent.
For the median homeowner of color, this gap translates to an extra $300 to $390 a year in property tax payments—a significant sum, considering the nation’s median Black household net worth is $13,000, with only $4,000 of that in liquid assets (pre-COVID).
These findings don’t come out of the blue. During the Jim Crow era, white tax assessors in the South routinely overvalued Black-owned residences, both as a punishment for civil rights activities or simply as a hidden tax break for landowning white gentry. In 1966 in Edwards, Mississippi, for example, the board of supervisors retaliated against a Black-led boycott of white businesses by grossly inflating the assessed value of almost all Black-owned homes in the town, an action ultimately upheld by the US Supreme Court.Read Debby’s Full Article at Nonprofit Quarterly
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