Opinion | How Lower-Income Americans Get Cheated on Property Taxes

Many homeowners are paying a total of billions of dollars extra because of inequities in assessing property values.

Credit…Illustration by Nicholas Konrad/The New York Times

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Americans expect to pay property taxes at the same rates as their neighbors. But across most of the United States, flat-rate property taxation is a sham.

Local governments are failing at the basic task of accurately assessing property values, and there is a clear and striking pattern: More expensive properties are undervalued, while less expensive properties are overvalued. The result is that wealthy homeowners get a big tax break, while less affluent homeowners are paying a higher price for the same public services.

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