By Jason Griffith, CCIM
Property tax notification letters have been sent out by the Washington County Assessor.  According to the tax notice, property owners will have until September 15, 2014, to file an appeal.  Get started early.  Appeal forms from the county should be available online or may be picked up at the county assessor’s office.  If you do have concerns, the assessor’s office encourages property owners to come in and talk to the before filing an appeal.
The basis for a commercial property appeal must be derived by property income, comparable property sales during the prior calendar year (January 1st to January 1st), or an appraisal for the market value on January 1, 2014.  The tax rate, or mill rate, is the same county-wide regardless of the type of property, including homes.
While analyzing your home is comparatively easy, analyzing a commercial property can be more complicated.  Utah law requires all properties be reassessed to fair market value annually.  Utah law also prevents any tax windfall to counties as a result of increasing market values.  So, all things being equal, as the aggregate property value of the entire county goes up, the corresponding tax (mill) rate must be offset or adjusted down.  New budget spending by taxing entities, voter approval of bonds, etc., will push the tax rate up, however.
For example, my home’s market value was adjusted up 11.99%.  But, the taxes (with no budget change) only went up 4.62%.  With proposed budget increases, my property tax would increase 5.97%.  During the recession, the reverse took place.  Market values fell drastically and the mill rate increased keeping property taxes about the same.






How the state and county balances market value and property taxes from year-to-year is important to understand.  There is not much the property owner can do on the mill or tax rate other than not voting for bonds; property taxes will be paid.  The more important issue is making sure that you are being assessed in a fair and similar manner to other properties.