Commentary - 2012 assessments mailed out to Douglas County taxpayersDouglas County [sent out] nearly 30,000 assessment notices and tax statements on March 26. The assessment notice is the document that advises all property owners of the valuation and classification assigned to their property for the 2012 assessment for the property taxes they will pay in 2013.
By A. Keith Albertsen
Douglas County Assessor
Douglas County [sent out] nearly 30,000 assessment notices and tax statements on March 26. The assessment notice is the document that advises all property owners of the valuation and classification assigned to their property for the 2012 assessment for the property taxes they will pay in 2013. Per state requirements, sales between October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011 are used to set values for the 2012 assessment (values are set as of January 2 each year).
The number of sales is still down and the prices relatively flat. The actual selling price of sales in open “arm’s length” transactions are compared with assessed values to determine if assessed values go up or down.
“Short sales” and bank-foreclosure sales are rejected from the State Sales Ratio Study. They do seem to be having an effect on the arm’s length transactions and assessed values on residential and seasonal properties are (generally) going down slightly.
Agricultural properties seem to be on the rise and irrigated agricultural property especially so.
The change made to the homestead credit by the Legislature in special session last summer will be reflected in the payable 2012 tax statements. In virtually every case, the tax extension rate (the old mill rate) increased. To be clear, the homestead benefit is not gone. It was changed from a direct credit to a value exclusion. What was lost was close to $2.3 million in state funding (between all taxing entities in the county). The proposed notice everyone received last fall reflected the change.
But if you are in School District 206 the proposed notice did not show the effect of the recently passed referendum for the high school. The payable 2012 tax statements will. In most cases, the increase in the tax extension rates from the proposed notice and the actual statement are approximately 10 percent. Since it is a “bricks and mortar” referendum and not an “operating” referendum, everybody in the district pays for it.
For homestead properties there may be some relief through the state Property Tax Refund program. There are two parts. One compares the property taxes you pay with your income and depending on the program, you may be eligible for a partial refund. The second compares the increase in the property tax from one year to another and income is not a factor. The tables have changed so if you did not qualify in years past, you may now.