Property tax is a tax paid on property owned by an individual or other legal entity, such as a corporation. Most commonly, property tax is a real estate ad-valorem tax, or a tax based on the assessed value of an item, such as real estate or personal property. The local governing body will use the assessed taxes to fund water and sewer improvements, provide law enforcement, fire protection, road and highway construction, libraries, and many other services that benefit the community. The amount owners owe in property taxes is determined by multiplying the property tax rate by the current market value of the property in question. Most taxing authorities will recalculate the tax rate annually.
The area in which you live, called a district, is another sub-category to calculating taxes. There are 32 tax districts in Bannock County and your tax rate is based upon which tax district you are in. All property within the City of Pocatello falls under District 1 and is taxed at the same rate. Many believe that taxes are higher in the Highland area, however the rate is the same. To view a map that lists all tax districts within a certain area in Bannock County go to https://bannock.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=808f74b1....
How do you know and calculate how much you may owe in property taxes? Disclaimer: at the time of writing this the following numbers are current but are subject to change. You may be eligible for a handful of exemptions. i.e. homeowners exemption, veterans property tax reduction, and a few others. To see a list of exemptions and to view your eligibility, please visit https://www.bannockcounty.us/property-tax-hub/#reliefoptions.
The average homebuyer is looking to purchase a home to be their own living residence. The reason this is relevant is due to a homeowner’s exemption, in comparison to an investor who may purchase real estate property with the intent to rent it out. If you occupy the residence as your home, you qualify for a $125,000 exemption off the assessed value of your home. For example, if you purchase a home with an assessed value of $500,000 and you occupy the home as your primary residence, the value to calculate your property taxes from is $375,000. You then take the current tax/levy rate of .016 (as of June 2022) and multiply it by the deducted value of your home, and that is the annual amount you will pay in property taxes.
$375,000 x .016 = $6,000
For a more detailed overview of property taxes specifically in the Pocatello and surrounding areas, please see down below.
There are many misconceptions 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. These entities have been authorized by law to levy taxes. Some of these levies are voted on by the general public so 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 Bannock County 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 view a map that lists all tax districts within a certain area in Bannock County go to https://bannock.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=808f74b1....
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:
Interest on Investment 573,000
Licenses and Fees 413,904
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 homeowners 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 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 2022 the maximum exemption amount was $125,000. 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 homeowner’s 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 $300,000, you would get a homeowner’s exemption of $125,000 (2022) so you are taxed on a value of $175,000 which at the .01932509 levy would equate to roughly $3,382 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 arrears, meaning in December of 2021, you pay property taxes for January-June of 2021.
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.