Last Thursday I asked Director Mike Kadas of the Dept. of Revenue to conduct an administrative review of the property tax process in Lincoln County. Director Kadas agreed to my request.
We discussed the tax assessment issue at length at 9:30 am Jan. 11, right after I filed papers to run for Senate District 1. In addition to Director Kadas, his deputy director and the property tax administrator were present for the two hour meeting. I was able to pull some Eureka area taxpayers including Lincoln County Commis-sioner Mike Cole into the meeting by speaker phone.
In addition to looking into the overall tax assessment process, Director Kadas said he would look particularly at a couple of examples. I must note that the direc-tor and crew were very patient and thorough in listening to concerns.
Key point brought out is that state law does require assessed values to be equal to a likely selling price of the property. New technology is intended to provide to offer accurate estimates. Director Kadas said the process is still catching up.
In addition, state law also calls for assessments to be updated every two years. The time frame was shortened from six years to two years to avoid sudden large increases as well to help reduce taxes when real estate prices take a sudden plunge such as in 2008. Obviously, the current situation doesn’t always reflect those good intentions. The process is complicated by a number of factors. Several months ago I took a retired Rexford couple to the state assessor’s office in Libby to learn they were too late to appeal their taxes.
Assessments are made in January and assessment value sent to taxpayers in July. Taxpayers have 30 days to question that value, which should be equal to the likely current selling price. If you disagree, contact the Dept. of Revenue immediately for a review.
If you are unhappy with results of the review, you can appeal to the County Tax Appeal Board within 30 days.
If you are unhappy with those results, you can contact the State Tax Appeal Board within 30 days.
Bottom line in theory, higher property value shouldn’t automatically bring high-er taxes to everyone. Tax collections are intended only to cover the cost of govern-ment, not to encourage growth of government spending. Government definitely should not drive taxpayers from their homes.