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Double the assessment does not mean double the taxes

June 10, 2022

A Boundary County woman wrote yesterday asking how resident's assessments are comparing to last year's. "My 1978 mobile home is now priced higher than when it was new," she wrote. "Taxes $47,000 over last year." The shock of the increase in residential assessments is real, and it's not just Boundary County.

"Assessed values on all residential properties, including mobile homes, are nearly double what they were last year," Boundary County Assessor Dave Ryals said. "This is entirely due to the extreme level of the market. People wanting to purchase a place to live in Boundary County, well anywhere in Idaho for that matter, are simply paying astronomical prices just to get something. It is a 'pick your price and get it' market. I am completely dismayed to see it, but have no control whatsoever. My job is to report that market on our assessments and truth be told we are still low. We did raise values enough to get the tax commission off our backs for now, but just barely. The big thing I would like to impress on people, and I wish they would actually read the letter I enclosed with their notices, is that increased market value drives the levy rates down. Double the value does not equal double the taxes!"

Idaho assessments of property value are predicated on market values, and county assessor's are tasked with getting assessments within 10-percent of sales prices.

And there are exemptions available to reduce property tax obligations.

The Idaho legislature this year passed HB389, which increased the homeowner's exemption from $100,000 to $125,000, which could benefit those who own and occupy a home as their primary residence. This means that either the first $125,000 of the property's assessed value or 50-percent of the assessed value, whichever is less, would be exempt from property taxes.

Qualified homeowners can also save up to $1,500 by applying to the Property Tax Reduction Program, also known as the “circuit breaker.” This program is meant to help seniors, people with disabilities, and widowers with their property taxes.

However, HB389 changed who can qualify for the program in 2022. Now to qualify, a property’s assessed value must be no more than 125-percent of the median value of homes in the county, regardless of household income. Previously, qualifications were based on if the property owner fell under 185-percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

HB389 also increased the maximum credit allowed from $1,320 to $1,500. For tax year 2022, the income level to qualify for the Circuit Breaker Exemption was increased to $32,230 and the legislature increased the median bench mark from 125% to 150% for this year. The calculated median value in Boundary County for 2022 is set at $535,800. Circuit breaker applicants with home and homesite values exceeding that amount will not qualify even if the applicant's income is within guidelines.

To learn more about assessments and exemptions, call (208) 267-3301.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

A 9B Media LLC publication
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