Pocatello Property Taxes





            There are many misconceptions floating around out there about property taxes in general and specifically about property taxes in Pocatello and the surrounding areas.  First it is important to understand the basics about how property taxes work.  We need to understand how the tax rate is calculated, how those taxes are charged, and how we pay these taxes. 

 

            First we need to discuss what a taxing district is to understand how your individual tax rate is calculated.  A taxing district is an entity which is authorized by law to levy taxes to provide services to a group of property owners in a particular area.  These taxing districts include cities, school districts, highway districts, cemetery districts and fire protection districts. Other less-known districts include ambulance, hospital, and library districts.  All of these entities have been authorized by law to levy taxes.  Some of these levies are voted on by the general public, so that we are allowed some control over where our tax dollars are going.  It is important to note that all property taxes collected are spent by local governments, and none of that tax money goes to the state or federal level.

            There are 32 tax districts in Bannock County and your tax rate is based upon which tax district you are in.  Some districts are county wide, for example everyone living in BannockCounty pays for an ambulance district.  All property owners that fall within Pocatello/Chubbuck school district 25 boundaries pay taxes based on the current levy.  To see a comprehensive list of all the tax districts in BannockCounty go to http://www.co.bannock.id.us/auditor/CountyTaxingDistricts.html  to view a map that lists all tax districts within a certain area in BannockCounty go to http://www.co.bannock.id.us/auditor/BannockCodeMap.html 

                Now to understand how property taxes are determined we need to realize that each year your property tax changes based on several factors.  The levy rates voted on by the general public, and by the calculation done by the municipality in which you own property.  The taxing district sets an expenditure budget for the coming year, they then subtract all other sources of available revenue except property taxes.  The difference becomes the balance to be levied to property taxes.  For example:


Taxing District Fiscal Year Expenditure Budget

 

$32,552,401

Less Estimated Other Revenue:

 

 

   Intergovernmental 

5,693,953

 

   Interest on Investment

 573,000

 

   Licenses and Fees

413,904

 

   Charges

9,447,781

 

   Fines

774,700

 

   Miscellaneous

230,578

 

   Extra Reserves

1,244,199

 

        Total Other Revenues

 

18,378,115

Balance to be Levied from Property Taxes

 

$14,174,286

 

They then determine the total assessed value of all property within its boundaries. There are three different tax rolls that are added together to get the total value.  The regular roll is comprised of all property assessed (minus any exemptions, including home owners and hardship exemptions) by the county assessor as of January 1st.  The estimated sub roll is an estimated value for all property that is not taxable as of January 1st, but that will become taxable within the fiscal year.  A new home under construction is an example of a property that could fall into the estimated sub roll.  New construction in an area therefore serves to lighten the tax burden of those already established within the tax district boundaries.  The final tax roll is the State Utility Roll, which is determined by the Idaho State Tax Commission and given to all counties in the state for uniformity.  The following is an example of one taxing district’s total assessed value:

 

Regular Roll

$2,434,686,043

Estimated Sub Roll 

4,067,215

State Utility Roll 

 144,907,809

Total Taxing District's Assessed Valuation

$2,583,661,067

 

The tax rate is then determined by dividing the tax dollars requested by the total assessed valuation.  The resulting 9 digit number becomes the tax levy for the following fiscal year for that district.  Below is an example of one taxing district total levy.  You would then need to add on the additional levies per code area.

 

Total Levy: 
Total Property tax dollars requested        $14,174,286 
Assessed Valuation (after exemptions)    $2,583,661,067       = .005486124 or 0.050%

 

The total assessed value is the sum of all the property tax levies from the tax districts applicable to your code area.  For example the city of Pocatello is code area one.  The applicable tax districts in code area one are Bannock County, City of Pocatello, School District #25, County Road and Bridge, and County Ambulance.  For 2015, the total levy for residential homes in Pocatello sits at .01932509 or 1.9.

 

Idaho has a homeowner’s exemption for owner occupied homes that is their primary residence. The exemption allows up to 50% of the value of your home and up to 1 acre of land to be exempted, up to a maximum amount. The tax commission is required by law to recompute the limit each year based on the federal Housing Price Index for Idaho. In 2014 the maximum exemption amount was $83,920 and has been raised for 2015 to $89,580.  To qualify, you must own and occupy your home before April 15th, and file an application with your county assessor’s office by April 15th.  Once qualified it is not necessary reapply annually unless you move or have a change of ownership.

                                                                                                                                    

           

Property tax liability amounts are computed based on the value.  For example, your house and the land it sits on are valued at $100,000.  With the homeowners exemption you subtract 50% of the valuation, leaving the taxing districts with a total taxable value of $50,000.  This value is then multiplied by the total tax levy.

$50,000. x .01932509= $966.25  per year.  Now, if your home is valued at $250,000, you would get a homeowners exemption of $89,580 (2015) so you are taxed on a value of $160,420 which at the .01932509 levy would equate to $3,100.13 per year.

           

The tax amount is then paid in two installments, one in June and one in December.  Property taxes are always paid six months in the rear, meaning in December of 2014, you pay property taxes for January-June of 2014.

 

Highland tax rates: How high are they really? One common misconception is that the tax rate in the Highland area is higher than in other areas of Pocatello.  The important thing to remember is that taxes are based on the value of the home. For example, the home at 845 N. Garfield has the same rate as the home at 2350 Satterfield Dr.  The home on Satterfield Dr. is assessed at a higher value, so the total taxes paid are higher, but the rate of tax is the same.  Homes built on land in a desirable area will have a higher assessed value than those on land in a less desirable area.  Although this will cause a higher assessed value it also protects the homeowner because the property will appraise for more and resale will be better than the same home in a less desirable area. 

 

The next myth to discuss is the long held belief that you pay more property taxes if you live in Pocatello than you do if you live in Chubbuck.  Although at times the tax levy in Pocatello is higher than Chubbuck, over the past several years Chubbuck has had a levy higher than that of Pocatello.  Using the current tax levy a resident of Pocatello with a total tax liability of $100,000 would pay $1932.51 ($100,000 X .001932509) in property taxes per year. A resident of Chubbuck with a total tax liability of $100,000 would pay $2004.22 ($100,000 X .0200422) in property taxes per year.  So currently Chubbuck has a higher tax levy than Pocatello. To see a list of all the tax levies in Bannock County visit  www.bannockcounty.us/auditor/bannocktaxlevies/.  You can also visit the Bannock County Assessors interactive map and look up individual levy rates on specific properties at http://www.bannockcounty.us/assessor/.

 

Finally a word about the State of Idaho’s overall property tax rate.  Idaho's overall tax burden ranks 9th lowest in the nation in comparison to other states.  When comparing to other western states Idaho has the lowest tax burden.