Satellites and Taxes


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exoduster18
January 2, 2006, 02:40 PM
How about this one? It's also another British big brother scheme.

2 January 2006
CLOUDS SAVE US FROM SPY IN SKY
Taxman wanted to bill you for having new patio
By Bob Roberts Deputy Political Editor

A SPY in the sky system to tax home improvements was scrapped - because Britain is too cloudy and too crowded.

Tax inspectors were said to have wanted to use satellite photography to spot houses with new patios, conservatories and extensions.

They would be hit with higher council tax bills under the secret Inland Revenue plans.

The idea sparked outrage from civil liberties groups, who called it "ludicrous".

Shami Chakrabati, director of Liberty, said: "This is technology which should be used to monitor terrorist cells in Afghanistan - but it is being used to check on people's conservatories in Hampshire."

Tory spokeswoman Caroline Spelman accused the Government of "invading people's privacy and laying the ground for a new stealth tax on home improvements". But local government minister Phil Woolas blamed the Tories for spreading an untrue story, calling it "contemptible".

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Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's office insisted yesterday the plan had already been dropped because it would not work.

A spokesman said the Government's Valuation Office Agency had looked at an American system of using aerial photography and satellites.

But the weather conditions in Britain, where it is often overcast, and due to streets crowded with houses meant it was "impractical".

He added: "The Valuation Office Agency have no plans whatsoever to use aerial photography in Britain.

"They have considered it in the past and decided that it would not be a useful tool." A source in the department added: "What works in the sparsely populated United States does not necessarily work here.

"It would have been totally unsuitable."

It is not the first time such hitech plans have been scuppered by Britain's gloomy weather.

The Mirror revealed last year that plans to track tagged criminals were ditched as satellites could not read signals because of heavy cloud cover, thick trees or tall buildings.

bob.roberts@mirror.co.uk

Link: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=16538768&method=full&siteid=94762&headline=clouds-save-us-from-spy-in-sky--name_page.html

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TexasRifleman
January 2, 2006, 02:42 PM
They should just send spies around with cameras and ladders to look over your fence, like here in Texas..... :cuss:

I'm surprised more of those guys don't get shot for trespassing.

exoduster18
January 2, 2006, 02:48 PM
What's to say that they haven't already? They probably have.

Oh, and just how were they going to pay for the start-up satellites in order to check for tax evasion? This is absolutely absurd.

O.F.Fascist
January 2, 2006, 09:55 PM
They should just send spies around with cameras and ladders to look over your fence, like here in Texas..... :cuss:

I'm surprised more of those guys don't get shot for trespassing.

Yeah I was about to say them going house to house snapping pictures with digicams is bad enough.

Standing Wolf
January 2, 2006, 10:12 PM
Clearly, England needs a breath tax.

longeyes
January 2, 2006, 10:59 PM
I knew we'd finally find a good use for smog.

exoduster18
January 2, 2006, 11:04 PM
To you guys in Texas......Who is 'they' and why do they take pictures of your property? And if 'they' are there unauthorized, why aren't 'they' shot?

odysseus
January 3, 2006, 03:14 AM
A system gone mad. Spend say $3 Bil on a satellite system to spy on people to collect more taxes. No, let's not think about decreasing the expense and waste of their system, let's focus on spending more money on how to drain an economy further from growth.:rolleyes:

They shall reap what they sow. I tell you, leftists/socialists are the last people you want managing your money.

O.F.Fascist
January 3, 2006, 06:13 PM
To you guys in Texas......Who is 'they' and why do they take pictures of your property? And if 'they' are there unauthorized, why aren't 'they' shot?

Country Tax assessors I believe.

Actually I dont think I've had anyone come onto our property to take pictures of our place, but they have definately driving by our house and snapped some photos.

I know this because my mom showed me the county website where you could go to to look up your property taxes and there is a page that lists info about your home and lot, along with a picture of the front of the house that appears to have been taken from the road.

Sure its not like they took pictures of inside our house or anything like that but I still think its creepy as hell to know that some form of government sent people to come by and snap pictures of our home.

fluffygrrl
January 3, 2006, 06:18 PM
well, they would reasonably have a right to take a picture of your house, wouldnt they ? why should they be treated differently than any private citizen ? if i go for a walk and it happens to be where you live, i can get a good look, cant i ? and i can even legally take pictures, as long as im not sitting on your private property.

Spot77
January 3, 2006, 06:38 PM
Baltimore has been using its police choppers to spot illegally built decks within the city. It seems with the plethora of rowhouses and higher buildings going up around the inner harbor people decided to build decks on their rooftops to enjoy the view, many sans permits.

Don't Tread On Me
January 3, 2006, 06:53 PM
Pure tyranny, the kind our founding fathers fought against and defeated.


We are cowards.

Azrael256
January 3, 2006, 07:22 PM
well, they would reasonably have a right to take a picture of your house, wouldnt they That works fine, in the suburbs. My grandparents received a massive property tax bill for their place. It seems that the tax assessor had spotted a 4,000sq. ft. building on one of the parcels of their place close to the road. The trees are thin in that area, and the whole parcel can be seen from the road by anbody who knows what he's looking at (ie: has the property line map). There is a small pile of rocks on that parcel I put there when I was 10. That's the closest thing to an "improvement." The assessor's excuse was that he couldn't access it, which is a blatant lie (no gate on that stretch of fence and it's visible from the public road anyway), so he assumed there was a massive commercial enterprise on the land. Grandad had "a little chat" with them and straightened it out, but you can see why we're getting tired of wildly inaccurate drive-by tax assessment. The front of my house may look like $250,000, but I may have knocked out all the interior drywall on a whim. Or, in this case, my house may be a small mound of dirt, and I might just get a bill for a fifty million dollar mansion on my property. One never knows.

So, there's the root of the problem, but this is where it gets interesting. Sometimes, the tax assessor gets a little bit bold, and decides to hop the fence to take a look at something to make his wild guess at its value. Usually an "improvement" on a plot of land will be near the road for convenience, but not always. So the assessor, without so much as speaking to the owner, jumps a fence to take a look at a pole barn and there happens to be a herd of livestock behind that fence. This makes the assessor look like even more of a criminal than he actually is. People have gotten themselves shot for climbing over fences. Texans do not take kindly to rustlers, and neither does Texas law. So, the rancher puts a couple .30-30 rounds into the assessor, or gives him a butt full of #7 (which is probably more likely), and the proverbial S-storm ensues.

fluffygrrl
January 4, 2006, 05:52 PM
all those problems are likely to be alleviated by better assesing, right ?

longrifleman
January 4, 2006, 06:18 PM
all those problems are likely to be alleviated by better assesing, right ?

Who gets to define "better assessing"?

Around here the County assessor follows concrete trucks and loads of lumber to find new construction. We get to pay for his gas too.

Optical Serenity
January 4, 2006, 06:21 PM
They should just send spies around with cameras and ladders to look over your fence, like here in Texas..... :cuss:

I'm surprised more of those guys don't get shot for trespassing.

I'm lost, fill me in!

TexasRifleman
January 4, 2006, 07:44 PM
I'm lost, fill me in!


In Texas counties, there is a Tax Appraisal District that sets the value of your real property for taxes. These guys have some info on houses based on building permits etc,but they also do random inspections looking to see if you've made significant improvements or demolition that would impact the value one way or another.

My father sells insurance and since all of this Tax Appraisal stuff is public record, one of the things he does when he wants to target sell a neighborhood is go to the Appraisal office and get the appraisals on houses there.

These generally have square footage, # of bedrooms, # of bathrooms, and most of the time a floorplan if the house is less than 15 years old or so.

With this info he can prepare a quote to sell insurance. It's all public record, scary stuff......when you bought the property, how much you paid, the mortgage company, etc.

I've seen these guys more than once inspecting property with digital cameras and ladders to peek over fences.

Is it legal? Dunno.. sounds dangerous at the very least.

del4
January 4, 2006, 08:12 PM
Here in Florida you can get an aerial photo of your property off of the tax assessers websight.

I met a guy (pilot) who used to be hired by the tax appraiser office to photograph property.

dracphelan
January 4, 2006, 08:19 PM
As another example:
My parents received a tax bill claiming that they had added a sunroom, hot tub and storage shed. They had none of these items. It turns out that the tax assessor had peaked over the neighbors fence and got the house number wrong. It is the reason I always closely review the tax assessment document I get every year.

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