Increased Property Values Generally Mean Increased Taxes

Increased Property Values Generally Mean Increased Taxes

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingProperty tax notices are going out right now and you may be surprised by what you see, especially if you live in an area where property values are rising.

In Utah, a taxing entity can only collect what it collected the year before, plus what it gains from new growth -- its called Truth in Taxation. That holds down taxes, but if you live in a boom neighborhood where property values are going up ,you'll likely pay higher taxes, while other people's taxes may go down this year.

Rob Steffenson, a retired educator, and his wife have lived in their east bench home for ten years. Living on a fixed income makes paying higher taxes tough. The value of homes in their neighborhood has risen 27% in the last year.

Rob Steffensen, East Bench Homeowner: "The house made more money than we did last year."

Patricia and Lynn Newman went to the Board of Equalization because they saw a huge increase in taxes. They have a little piece of property about 20-feet wide at the back of their home. Last year it was was valued at 500 dollars, this year it went up to $16-thousand. Their six-dollar tax bill went up to 178-dollars.

Home values in their Holladay neighborhood rose 36% last year.

Patricia and Lynn Newman, Holladay Home Owners: "We had hoped to be able to die there, but the way they are taxing us, they are going to drive us somewhere else, and it isn't fair."

They appealed the valuation of their little piece of property and it was reduced by nearly half

Patricia Newman: "It pays to check it out."

The formula for your taxes is complicated because you have different entities taxing you, like the county and city in which you live. You may be paying for a bond, school district, library, sewer or mosquito abatement. The Salt Lake County Assessor says the valuation on your home reflects its market value.

Lee Gardner, Salt Lake County Assessor: "We are requird by law to value property based on current market data. What we do, we do fairly and equitably as far as the value goes."

So whose taxes are going down? On average, property values in Salt Lake county increased 16%. If homes in your area appreciated less than the average, you may see a property tax decrease.

If you think your property is valued incorrectly, you can go to the Salt Lake County complex and talk to someone at the Assessors office or appeal to the Board of Equalization. You may also qualify for tax relief if you are elderly, low income or disabled.

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