Shondi Mortimer bought her home in northwest Boise for $289,500 in 2016 when she was still married and pregnant with her sixth child.
Now, as a divorced single parent with three boys who still live at home, she received a property tax assessment in the mail that valued her home at $609,700 — $90,000 more than in 2021.
“I looked at it and thought, ‘Oh holy (expletive)’,” Mortimer said.
She’s not the only Ada County resident to find appraisal stickers shocking. Ada County Assessor Bob McQuaid said the average increase for the 2022 tax year is 30%, meaning half the county’s lots are higher and half are lower. The taxable value of all types of property has increased by almost $27.7 billion this year, after an increase of about $15 billion a year earlier.
While dollar amounts tend to be highest for property valuations in Ada County, values have increased significantly in several densely populated Idaho counties, especially between 2021 and 2022. In Canyon County, the taxable value of all property increased by about $10 billion from $3. billion more than a year earlier.
Another real estate value hotspot is in Kootenai County, where taxable value has almost doubled since 2021, from $26.7 billion to almost $47 billion.
Even in Bannock County in eastern Idaho, a more rural area where taxable value increased by only $500 million from 2019 to 2020, total taxable value increased by $2.5 billion between 2021 and 2022. And in Twin Falls County, the value increased 37% over the past year from $7.4 billion to $10.2 billion, after an increase of about $1 billion a year earlier.
Boise homeowner worries about affordability if taxes increase
Property tax dollars fund things like schools, roads, emergency services, mosquito control, and city and county public services, and each county in Idaho uses a collection formula to determine how much property tax it will collect.
Because property taxes are a local tax and all dollars stay within the city or county, resident taxes can go up or down or stay the same depending on where the home is located. In Mortimer’s case, her assessed value increased from $401,900 in 2019 to $422,900 in 2020, but her taxes were reduced by $263.
All values are subject to change until July 1 in Idaho, before the end of the fiscal year, but assessment notices were to be sent to residents in the first week of June. Exact tax increases or decreases to be determined meanwhile, cities and counties set their budgets for the next two weeks.
Mortimer worries those taxes will rise significantly, especially as she struggles with lingering fatigue and chest pain from a bout with COVID-19 in 2020. The virus left her bedridden and unable to work for four months, and she had to contact her mortgage company. for refraining from suspending her payments.
The symptoms of protracted COVID are improving and she is able to work full time, but she is well aware of how difficult her situation is.
“As long as I don’t get worse with COVID (symptoms), I think I will be fine,” Mortimer said. “If I got sick again and missed four more months of work, I wouldn’t get sick.”
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Retired McCall blames Idaho Legislature for failing to find solution
In Valley County, where Laurie Gibson-Banducci lives in retirement, the value of her home has increased from $838,000 to $1.1 million in the last year.
Overall, real estate values in Valley County rose from $6.3 billion in 2021 to $10.3 billion in 2022, after rising just $1 billion from 2020 to 2021.
She said she partially blames the Idaho Legislature for the raise, and noted that she wrote to her representatives several times during the legislative session earlier this year, to no avail.
Members of the Idaho Legislature introduced a bill to lower property taxes by raising the sales tax, but he did not receive a Senate hearing until after the March session. The legislature also passed one bill in 2021 to reduce property taxes by targeting and capping city budgets. While there have been many calls for legislators to pass a bill indexing the homeowner’s exemption from current market prices, these efforts were unsuccessful. Legislature passed legislation in 2021 increase in release $100,000 to $125,000 as a flat rate, but many lawmakers criticized the bill, saying it didn’t go far enough to help homeowners with tax breaks.
“It makes me very upset that the Legislature had the opportunity to try to fix this broadly and substantially, and they chose to focus on all sorts of other cultural issues that don’t really affect the daily lives of Idahoans.” Gibson-Banducci said. “In the meantime, those of us who own or rent real estate will pay the price.”
Gibson-Banducci believes the valuation of her McCall home is likely correct, but she plans to appeal the valuation of her North End Boise condominium that has gone up 25%. She said the $421,800 valuation is much higher than comparable apartments and she plans to appeal.
The process is not easy, she says, because in order to get the most accurate data, she had to ask several friends in the real estate industry about the price of comparable sales in the right time frame.
“It doesn’t make much sense to me that we have to go to a realtor to get information,” Gibson-Banducci said.
Idaho is one of 10 states has no disclosure laws for real estate transactions, regardless of the type of property. Submission of information is strictly voluntary or available to the appraiser’s office through the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service. In Ada County, this data is sufficient to make an accurate assessment, but it potentially widens the gap between the real estate tax burden for residential homes and commercial real estate, whose sales data are much more difficult to obtain.
Appraisal attractiveness is high in Treasure Valley counties and low in others
Far more taxpayers in Ada County have appealed their assessment this month than at this time in 2021, according to McQuaid. In 2021, 93 residents applied to the district, the smallest number in 22 years. As of Monday, McQuaid said 195 residents had filed appeals. Overall, appeals are granted about 25% of the time, he said, but he is confident in the accuracy of this year’s estimates, based on available data for residences.
In Canyon County, systems analyst Steve Onofrey said there have been 818 calls with property tax assessment questions since the beginning of June, and while the county has received 79 assessment appeal requests, only five have been completed so far. Onofri said those numbers are about average compared to previous years.
Anita Hymas, chief deputy assessor in Bannock County, said the office has received 436 calls since June 9 but has so far only filed about 21 appeals.
“We’re really trying to reach out to a lot of people and help them in any way we can; we look at their grades and make sure they don’t have any errors,” Hymas said.
Hymas said higher-end homeowners will be hit the hardest because the homeowner’s exemption is limited to such a low amount compared to today’s market prices.
In Twin Falls County, expert Brad Wills said this is the time of year when appeals typically number in the hundreds, but so far the county has only recorded nine formal appeals. According to him, many people call with questions, but this has not led to new appeals.
“We found that a lot of people get upset when they call, but once we talk to them, they understand,” Wills said. “They just want to make sure we didn’t make a mistake with their property, that everyone else has undergone significant changes.”
Districts required by state law value homes at full market value at the time of valuation, with a margin of 10% above or below market value, which for the 2022 tax year will be based on 2021 figures. The 2023 tax year will be based on the 2022 market value.
This may seem particularly confusing as there are fewer houses for sale in the Treasure Valley area. Sales of closed homes in Ada County fell 5.8% in May compared to the same period last year, according to Boise Regional Realtors. Pending sales were also down 12.7% and have been declining every month since May 2021.
But this does not mean that prices are still falling. The median home sale price in Ada County reached $602,250 in May, up 16.1% from May 2021 and setting a new record.
“It makes me very upset that the Legislature had the opportunity to try to fix this in a broad and substantial way, and they chose to focus on all sorts of other cultural issues that don’t really affect the daily lives of Idahoans.”
Meridian City Council member says participation in budgeting process is important
Meridian City Councilman Luke Cavener grew up in Meridian and vividly remembers having to stop mowing his neighbor’s lawn as a teenager because the city raised water rates and she couldn’t afford to pay him the $6 he was making from her. more. It is these people that he considers a city sets your budget and decides whether to increase the property tax rate by the legally allowed 3%, as the city council will start doing Thursday night.
Cavener is known as one of the council’s staunchest opponents of property tax increases, and he said he received many calls from residents because he has such a reputation among council members.
“Particularly in a community full of young families, every time the cost goes up, it goes away. Whether it’s a homeowner or a tenant,” Cavener said. “As serious as we are about housing affordability, I am also focused on homeownership affordability.”
He plans to advocate for ways to refrain from a 3% hike, even though the rise has helped keep the city’s overall rate low, and it’s just one part of several tax districts that make up the homeowner’s overall bill.
“There were years when we took the full 3%, and from the city’s point of view, taxes on people’s property were reduced. There were also times when we stayed the same and other taxes went up,” Cavener said.
Cavener hopes Meridian residents will take notice of the budgeting process and provide feedback, suggestions, and critiques.
“This is the aspect of government that concerns our citizens the most and we never hear about it from our community,” Cavener said. “We hear when they’re upset when the estimates come out, and we hear when they’re upset when their property tax bill comes out. We don’t hear them when we develop our budget.”