Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal
December 20, 1990
Mr. Anthony V. Milano
Secretary, Office of Policy
80 Washington Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Secretary Milano:
In your letter of October 12, 1990, you posed several questions regarding the property tax relief program in Conn. Gen. Stat. e 12-62d. From discussions with your staff, we have been informed that the only question which we need answer concerns the proper interpretation of l989 Conn. Pub. Acts 89-251, e 192(h)(2), codified as Conn. Gen. Stat. e 12-62d(h)(2). This section provides, in pertinent part, for a plan of property tax relief
in which the property tax credit applicable to each eligible parcel of residential property shall be determined as the amount by which the property tax applicable to such parcel of residential property exceeds one and one-half percent of the present true and actual value of such property.
Conn. Gen. Stat. e 12-62d(h)(2) (emphasis added).
Specifically, you ask whether exemptions to the property tax granted to the blind, veterans, and the disabled in Conn. Gen. Stat. e 12-81 may be applied in determining "the present true and actual value" of property for purposes of the credit granted in Conn. Gen. Stat. e 12-62d(h)(2). For the following reasons, it is our opinion that such exemptions may not be considered in determining the present true and actual value of property.
The exemptions contained in Conn. Gen. Stat. e 12-81 reduce the actual property taxes that qualifying individuals pay. Those exemptions, however, do not reduce "the present true and actual value" of the property subject to the property tax. Conn. Gen. Stat. e 12-63 provides that the present true and actual value of property other than farm land, forest land, and open space "shall be deemed by all assessors and boards of tax review to be the fair market value thereof and not its value at a forced or auction sale."
The term "fair market value" is equally well understood.
Fair market value is generally best ascertained by reference to market sales. New Haven Water Co. v. Board of Tax Review, 166 Conn. 232, 236, 348 A.2d 641; Federated Department Stores, Inc. v. Board of Tax Review, 162 Conn. 77, 87, 291 A.2d 715; Sibley v. Middlefield, 143 Conn. 100, 107, 120 A.2d 77. Where this method is unavailable, however, other means are to be found by which to determine value. Underwood Typewriter Co. v. Hartford, 99 Conn. 329, 337, 122 A. 91. A variety of such alternative methods for calculation of "true and actual value" have been approved by this court: use of the cost of reproduction with an adjustment for depreciation; Connecticut Light & Power Co. v. Monroe, 149 Conn. 450, 452, 181 A.2d 118; use of the original property cost less depreciation; Bridgeport Gas Co. v. Stratford, 153 Conn. 333, 335, 216, A.2d 439; Bridgeport Hydraulic Co. v. Stratford, 139 Conn. 388, 393, 94 A.2d 1; and the capitalization of actual income approach; Somers v. Meriden, 119 Conn. 5, 7-8, 174 A. 184. "As a rule, however, '[n]o one method is controlling; consideration should be given to them all, if they have been utilized, in arriving at the value of the property.' Sibley v. Middlefield, supra, 107." New Haven Water Co. v. Board of Tax Review, supra, 237.
Uniroyal Inc. v. Board of Tax Review, 174 Conn. 380, 385-86 (1978).
While a number of methods may be used to determine fair market value, they all relate to the value of the property itself, not the condition of the owner. The exemptions in Conn. Gen. Stat. e 12-81 for the blind, veterans, and the disabled are totally unrelated to the fair market value of the property and, accordingly, may not be considered in determining its present true and actual value for purposes of the tax credit authorized by Conn. Gen. Stat. e 12-62d(h)(2).
Very truly yours,
CLARINE NARDI RIDDLE
John G. Haines
Assistant Attorney General