West Hartford

Some Car Tax Bills Increase Despite Promised Relief

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Major state tax cuts were supposed to mean relief for drivers, but not everyone is seeing lower car tax bills and some are getting hit with increases amid a rise in car values.

“I thought that the car part of the tax was pretty steep,” said Michael LaRocque of Bristol.

LaRocque was charged nearly $600 for his 2020 Ford Ecosport.

“There are some people that are surprised they have seen some general increases depending on the town that they live in,” said Tom DeNoto, Connecticut Association of Assessing Officers president.

DeNoto is also the assessor in Bristol where he said the mill rate used to be about 38. That decreased about 15% to about 32 mills because of the tax cuts that were part of the state budget.

The state plan was supposed to reduce car taxes in 75 communities by capping the mill rate at 32 and reimbursing them for lost revenue.

But car prices skyrocketed amid a chip shortage and that’s now wiping out some of the promised tax savings.

What you pay in taxes also depends on the value of your car, and we’re told those numbers from the National Automobile Dealers Association guide spiked 25%.

“So just on the basic math scenario, you could see how the bill could have actually been a lot worse if it wasn't for the capped mill rate in the larger municipalities, obviously,” DeNoto said.

In Cromwell, the assessment for a 2016 Subaru Legacy jumped about 20%, as did the tax bill to $360.

Though in West Hartford, the driver of a 2013 Hyundai Elantra ended up paying $20 less this year despite the car’s value increasing, thanks to the mill rate dropping.

Still, some think more needs to be done to help keep costs down.

“It's just tough. I guess it's tough for everyone,” LaRocque said.

People with concerns can always appeal their tax bill. We reached out to the governor’s office for comment but have not yet heard back.

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