Griswold Man Challenges Assessment On His “Classic” Car

On a good day George Volkov of Griswold could sell his 1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo for a couple of hundred dollars.

Imagine his reaction when the assessment on his rust-bucket – with more than 280,000 miles – jumped this year to $5,200 from $1,590.DSCN0532

The assessment at 70 percent fair retail value of $1,590 was pretty bad, but at $5,200 it is ludicrous says Volkov, a retired engineer who now teaches computer science at the Three Rivers Community College in Norwich.

At the tax rate of 26 mills Volkov said the difference between what he has to pay in taxes on the car this year compared to last year is only about $200.

“It’s not a major financial issue,” said Volkov, “It’s a matter of principle.”

Volkov contacted town assessor Leslie Kornosewicz who explained to him that by state law she has to set the assessment at 70 percent of fair retail value as stated in the National Automobile Dealers Association guide.

The problem is that the NADA guide for regular vehicles only goes back 20 years. After that vehicles 21 years or older are placed in the classic category, and are considered to have higher values.DSCN0533

That is fine for a car in great condition, Volkov argued with the assessor, but his vehicle has dents, large rusted areas and the paint is peeling.

“There is nothing classic about this car,” Volkov insists. “I’m just trying to get the last few miles out of it before heading to the junkyard.”

The assessor told him that he would have to appeal the assessment in September.

Volkov contacted assessors in three neighboring towns and he said they told him they would be more reasonable in their assessment if the vehicle was in their towns.

He asked CtWatchdog to check whether his assessor was being reasonable.

I contacted Stuart Topliff, Rocky Hill’s assessor who is also the president of the Connecticut Association Of Assessing Officers.

Topliff agreed with the Griswold assessor.

“We are bound by state law,” Topliff said.

And state law says all assessors are required to use the same guide to set assessment – the NADA.

If the owner of the vehicle believes it is not worth the assessed amount they have to file an appeal. Each September every town in the state conducts appeals hearings on car assessments, he said.

And if the vehicle is not in good shape the appeals board can take that into consideration, Topliff said.

Volkov says he was hoping to resolve the issue prior to Aug. 1 when his tax payment is due.

But now he says he will appeal in September and if he is not satisfied he will file a legal challenge in court.

“This is idiotic,” he said.

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15 Comments on "Griswold Man Challenges Assessment On His “Classic” Car"

  1. Donna E. Ploss | July 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm |

    Taxing cars is utter BS. No wonder people are registering their cars outta state. Car prices are also ridiculous and you have to pay SALES tax if you buy one, then yearly taxes. I’m sick of it.

  2. Register the vehicle as a classic.Go to Town Hall and show proof.Car is now assessed at $500.Better insurance rate also.

  3. I agree with Donna. Connecticut is the tax you to death state, and something has to give. They have taxes on everything in this state, including utility bills.

    A lot of other states do not have all these taxes, such as Florida, with NO state income tax.

    What is wrong with Connecticut, that they continue to need more taxes, and they are still millions in debt?

    Now they are kicking around the idea of adding property taxes to the list. Yup, that is Malloy’s newest idea. Have a State property tax on your house, along with your town or city tax.

    Time for him to go!!

  4. Richard Hertz | July 29, 2013 at 12:03 am |

    He’s an idiot for not putting Early American plates on his car. If he did that, then the Assessor under state law can only assess the car at $500.00. Sure, he can go to Assessment Appeals but he’s going to have to do that every year.

    • Richard,
      Early American plates cost money which may not justify the expense if one keeps the car for a short period of time. Also, the plates are not really needed since the car does not even have to be registered.
      The “idiot”.

      • Idiot's Daughter | July 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

        It’s ridiculous CT still makes you pay property tax on cars…the car is worth $25 to the junk yard and they want you to pay over $5K in taxes! Makes sense. Take it to the supreme court!

  5. We support you Mr. Volkov, all the way from Pennsylvania!

  6. Cars over 20 years should either have appropriate classic or antique plates. If they have regular plates they are not worth much as should have a tax based on scrap value or $100. .

  7. I had an antique vehicle. When the new assessor in Newington decided to value all older cars at max antique values ( there are books that do this like the NADA ), an assistant told me to get antique plates. To register the car with these plates cost about the same as registering with regular plates. And I was told all towns in CT have an understanding with the state that they cannot assess a car for more than $1,000.00. For now. I am sure the state legislature will try changing this.

  8. ConstantReader | July 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

    Coventry tried to assess a 15 year old minivan at the NADA rates which were over 3 times market value or what I tried to sell it for. Same “Brigadoon” Day in September to appeal the tax. I always say, “Hey Mr. Politician, you wanna ride in my classic convertible in the Fourth of July parade? Pay up or walk!”

  9. Robin Hood | August 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm |

    According to state law– *Any antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, shall be assessed at a value of not more than five hundred dollars.

  10. Robin Hood | August 1, 2013 at 8:14 pm |

    Any antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle was rated at 20 years, they tried to change the law this year to raise the 20 year to 30 and the $500 cap to $2500, bill HB 5102, not sure if it passed, if it did, all of us that own older vehicles are screwed.

    I suspect this was to appease towns and cities that were complaining about Malloys budget cuts “here, you can simply raise the taxes on the people instead while we increase Corporate Welfare”


  11. Jayne DeMarco | August 4, 2013 at 11:37 am |

    Mr. Volkov,
    Public Act No.08-150 was made ( a few years ago) to cap the assessed value of antique ,rare, or special interest vehicles at $500, even if the vehicles do not have antique license plates(mine does not). The owner must fill out the required form at the assessor’s office each year for the cap to be effective. There are deadlines for completing the form and the deadlines vary by town (Jan. 31 each year in New London). Ask your assessor for the required form and submit it before deadline and the following July you should be assessed at no more than $500. I started doing this a few years ago because I was tired of paying ridiculous, high, unjust taxes on our 1966 unrestored Mustang. Good luck ! Jayne

    • Bob Reynolds | August 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm |

      The mandated $500 Early American/Classic car assessment is correct. Checked with my East Lyme Assessor’s office and, at least for this town, no annual form is required. If you’ve got Early American plates on it, they know about it, and tax it on the $500 valuation.

  12. My 1983 chev. truck is a rust bucket and it’s assessment went from $550 from last year to $3660 this year. I will appeal and I filled out a form to claim it as a classic but I won’t restore it. It runs OK and it serves my purpose but I couldn’t sell it for $500.

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