Property values in Ada and Canyon Counties went up substantially this year. Chances are, if you own a house here you’ve received a letter from the county assessor saying your home is worth more. In Ada County the average increase was 18 percent.
Many people greet that news with disappointment because of a common misconception. It’s widely believed that if property values go up, property taxes go up automatically. That’s not the case. In fact even if you saw a big boost to your home value, your property tax might not change at all.
You can get an estimate of your property taxes using this online calculator from the Idaho Tax Commission.
Your property taxes are determined by the entities that have authority to tax you. Those include cities, counties, school districts, mosquito abatement districts, cemetery districts and a bunch more.
Every house falls into a tax-code area based on the different taxing district borders. There are 3,291 tax code areas in Idaho. So your neighbor across the street may be paying taxes for weed control while you pay for ambulance service.
It also means two homes with the same assessed value, in different parts of town, could get very different tax bills.
Say you live in Ada County and your home is worth $211,186. That’s the county average for 2014. Go to the tax commission’s property tax estimator. Select your county and plug in your home value. Then you have to select your tax code area. You’ll have hundreds to choose from.
If you pick the first one on the list your estimated tax bill is $3,534. If you scroll way down and pick the last one, your bill is $2,227. Try some other areas at random and you’ll find estimates that are higher and lower.
Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio