Each of you, as property owners, should have received your property valuation notice in the mail a couple of weeks ago. There have been a lot of questions regarding the notice, so let’s see if we can work through it together.
Legal Description of Property: This is the description and parcel number of your property (house and land) that the county has on record. The next section, “Market Value of your Property” shows the county’s appraised value of your property as of Jan. 1, 2014.
The form shows “Last Year’s Total Market Value” and “This Year’s Market Value.” Market value is based on the sales price of comparable homes in your area. If you live in Stansbury Park or Lake Point, there is probably a difference in these two values. Those are the two area’s that were re-appraised this year. Each area of the county is re-appraised every five years. In 2014 it was Stansbury Park and Lake Point’s turn.
Current and Proposed Taxes: _____ City is the municipality you live in and the taxes they use to run that municipality. (Including roads, police, firemen, elected officials for the municipality, etc.) If you live in an unincorporated area of Tooele County, there is no entry there.
County General: This is the county tax that is used to pay for the services you receive from the county.
School Basic Levy: Every county in the state pays the same amount for this tax. It is used to run the schools from a state level.
Tooele County School District: Pays for the services the district provides.
School local levy: This money is used for our local schools, including buildings, teachers, administration, etc.
Multi-County/Assess-Collecting: This is a tax that has been set by the legislature and placed on all counties to improve the home valuation process and to provide greater accountability to taxpayers through modern software.
County-Assess-Collect: This tax pays for the reappraisals done by the Assessor’s Office every five years (as mentioned above) and as required by law. It is split among all of the offices included in the reappraisal process. This system helps to ensure the equity and fairness of the property tax process.
Municipal Services Tax: If you have this listed on your valuation notice, you live in the county, not in an incorporated area. This tax is for the services you receive from the county such as roads, Sheriff’s Department, etc. Incorporated entities pay for those services with the city tax they impose.
The vertical columns next to the “Taxing Entities” column show the “Taxes Last Year,” which is the taxes you were assessed last year,
Tax This Year if No Budget Change: Shows what your taxes will be if the certified tax rate is approved. (An explanation of the certified tax rate is a whole different article!).
Tax if Proposed Budget Approved: If any entity proposes a tax increase, and it is approved, this is where that difference will be shown.
Change in Taxes: Shows the amount of the difference in the tax with no budget change and the proposed budget change if approved.
Change in percent shows the percent it will change, if approved.
While none of us like to pay these taxes, this is what helps keep our communities running. It helps pay for the services we receive. However, if you feel you can’t pay the taxes all at once, there are some things you can look into.
There are abatement programs that may help lower your taxes, if you qualify. The first is the “Veteran with a Disability Property Tax Exemption.” Obviously this program requires that the property owner, unmarried surviving spouse, or minor orphans, were a Veteran or were related to a Veteran. The reduction in taxes will depend on the percentage of disability the Veteran was given when he or she left the service.
A copy of the “Certificate of Discharge” is also required for this program.
Low Income Abatement and Homeowner’s Tax Credit Application: To quality for this program applicant must be age 65 or older on or before December 31, 2014, or under age 65 and disabled, or under age 65 and it would be an extreme hardship to pay the tax; Total household income must be less than $31,208 (there is a formula); And you must reside in the home for which you are claiming the abatement for 10 months during 2014. There are also programs for the blind and for mobile homes. For more information on these programs, contact Tooele County Auditor Mike Jensen at 435-843-3130.
If you don’t qualify for any of these abatements, the county has a program where you can pay 10 percent of the bill each month. The payment is determined by taking the full amount of your 2013 taxes, divide it by 10, and that will be your payment amount. Coupons are provided on the website at http://www.co.tooele.ut.us/Treasurer/pdf/TaxPrepaymentCoupons.pdf .
I hope I haven’t confused you more than before you read this article. If so, please call me at 435-843-3148 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I can’t answer your question, I’ll find someone who can.
Marilyn K. Gillette is the Tooele County Clerk