If you are a homeowner, you may have some questions about the way our property is assessed. The assessed value of your home helps to determine how much tax you pay. All assessments should be accurate so that all taxpayers pay their fair share of the total property tax.
The following questions are the most frequently asked questions about property assessment and taxes.
Idaho law requires that all taxable property be assessed at market value each year. To do this, the county assessor develops valuation guidelines based on the sales prices and some of the features of homes that have recently sold. Some of the features that often influence what a buyer would pay for your home and land include size, quality, age, condition and location.
The county assessor uses this information to estimate how much a buyer might reasonably pay for your home if it were to sell on January 1st of the assessment year.
The value of your property may change each year depending on real estate market changes.
An appraiser from the county assessor’s office is required to visit your property at least once in each five-year period. During the other four years, the county assessor will use information from property sales and/or from the inspections of other properties to estimate the current market value for your property.
The term “improvements,” as used in property assessment, does not refer just to remodeling, renovating or upgrading. “Improvements” are buildings (your house, garage, manufactured home, etc.), paving, or other structures that add value to land, regardless of when they were completed.
Real property consists of land and the improvements that are attached to it. Personal property normally is not attached to the land; it is generally mobile and does not last as long as real property. A copy machine is an example of personal property.
Personal property that is used by the owner in his private home is not subject to property tax. An example is household furnishings. If the same property is used in a business activity whether in a private home or elsewhere, it is subject to property tax.
Properly registered vehicles, including recreational vehicles, are not subject to property tax.
The value for your property is shown on your assessment notice. The county assessor usually mails this notice to you by the first Monday in June. If you do not receive this notice, contact the county assessor.
Your county assessor maintains a file of information on your property. If you have questions about your assessment, you should contact your county assessor to review the accuracy of the records. You may appeal the valuation to the Board of Equalization for the county in which the property is located. This board consists of the county commissioners. Most appeals must be filed with your county clerk by the fourth Monday in June. Properties assessed at other times of the year have different appeal dates.
Property values maintained by our county assessor are public records. You may also ask to review the value of other properties in that county.
Be prepared to document your reasons for requesting a change in your property’s assessed value. You must prove that the assessor’s value is not the current market value of the property.
The amount of tax is determined from the budget needs of the taxing districts. There are many kinds of taxing districts in Idaho. Some, like cities and counties, levy taxes to provide a wide range of services. Others levy taxes for specific purposes like highways, schools, or fire protection.
Officials for each taxing district determine the annual budget needed to provide services for the district. The approved budget is divided by the total taxable value of all properties within the district.
The result is the district’s tax rate. This rate, multiplied by the taxable value of your property, determines the amount of taxes you owe to the district.
Every property is located within several independent-taxing districts. This means your property tax bill includes taxes for all the districts in which you live. This combination of taxing districts is known as a “tax code area.” Each of these areas is assigned a number which appears on your assessment notice and tax bill. Within each tax code area, the total tax rate is generally the same for all properties.
The taxable value of your property determines how much tax you pay in relation to other properties. Assessments must be accurate for all taxpayers to pay their fair share of the total property taxes.
You should usually receive your tax bill by the end of November. Contact your county treasurer if you have questions about your tax bill.
Tax rates may be affected by a variety of factors.
Rates may increase due to a taxing district’s emergency needs or voter-approved bonds and override levies. Total tax rates may increase due to the creation of new taxing district that includes your property.
As an example, business has declined and slowed for local industry or agriculture, a county’s economy may suffer and affected property values may go down. However, your taxes may be higher since taxing districts still need to pay for basic services.
Yes, there are limits on property tax increases. First of all, most taxing districts have limits on the tax rates they may charge. Second, districts other than schools are limited to annual increases of 3% plus an allowance for growth on a portion of their budgets. The growth allowance is determined on the basis of new construction and annexation that occurred during the previous year.
You may live in a different taxing district than your neighbor. Also, your property may appear similar to your neighbor’s at first glance, but there may be enough differences in land size, square footage of homes, quality or condition of land that will result in value differences between properties.
Also, your neighbor may be eligible for some form of property tax reduction for which you either did not qualify or did not apply.
Yes, Idaho has a homeowner’s exemption for owner-occupied homes, including manufactured homes, which are primary dwellings. This exempts up to 50% or $89,580.00, whichever is less, of the value of your home and home site (§ 63-602G IC). Taxes are computed on the remaining value. You may also receive the homeowner’s exemption if you are paying occupancy taxes.
Applications are available from your county assessor’s office. When an application is approved, the exemption is permanent as long as you own and occupy the property. If the property is sold, the new owner must file a new application. There are no income or age restrictions, but you can qualify for an exemption on only one home at a time. You must own and occupy your home on January 1 of the tax year and must apply for an exemption by April 15th.
You may also qualify for Property Tax Reduction (Circuit Breaker) if you meet the income requirements and fit one of the following categories:
- Age 65 or older, Widow (er)
- Former POW
- Fatherless or Motherless Minor
- Qualifying Disabled Persons
Applications may be obtained from your county assessor and must be filed each year between January 1st and April 15th. Applications are also available on the internet.
If you purchase and move into a newly constructed home, that no one has ever lived in and move into it after January 1st, you will pay the occupancy fee instead of property taxes for the portion of the year you live there. You must notify your county assessor on or before the date you move into your new home.