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Property Tax Primer

Homeowners in Salt Lake County receive their annual Notice of Property Valuation & Tax Changes from the Office of the Salt Lake County Auditor each August. This document provides important information about the current market value of your property, as determined by the County Assessor, as well as the entities that collect taxes. We encourage all property owners to carefully review these notices and call us with any questions. Here are some basics about how these amounts are calculated and what to do if you have concerns.

What Do These Fund Pay For?

Property taxes are determined, and collected, by each county within Utah. These taxes fund public programs, infrastructure, and education, such as: school districts, library systems, and mosquito abatement. For an overview of how these amounts are calculated, we recommend watching this short video from the Utah Association of Counties.

Luckily for us, Utah ranks seventh for the lowest property tax in the nation, according to Nasdaq. This is one of the many reasons that Utah is an inviting place to live.

Home Value

The taxable amount owed is proportional to the market value of all property a person owns which is used as a primary residence. The more you own, the more you pay. According to the Utah Property Tax Division:

The county assessor appraises residential property at 100% of its “fair market value,” which is theoretically the value at which the property would sell for on the open real estate market. In the process the assessor is also aiming for uniform valuations, meaning that similar properties should have similar values.

Utah law requires county assessors to physically inspect and appraise all property at least once every five years to calculate full market value. In between these appraisals, market value is adjusted based on sales data and other factors. Keep in mind that this amount is an estimate and not always an accurate representation of the true market value of the property. If the assessor has undervalued your property, it’s not in your best interest to appeal. If you’d like to get a more accurate estimate, we’re happy to help you with a comparative market analysis–comparing homes recently sold in your area which are similar in size, style, and other factors to find the true value in today’s competitive real estate market.

As a residential property owner, you typically receive a 45% deduction of your property’s value to determine the taxable value, which means you pay property taxes on 55% of the assessed value.

The average sales price of a residential home in Salt Lake County has dipped in 2023. It was $632,000 in 2022 and is now $594,334 according to the Multiple Listing Service. 

The Appeals Process

As a property owner, you are able to view the assessed valuation––for your home or any home in your neighborhood––from the assessor’s office. Simply find your property using the Assessor’s “Search by Owner” function. You’ll find a record of your property with details of the history of its value.

So what are your options if you disagree with the value the county placed on your property? You are entitled to file an appeal with the county. The process has four phases: phase 1 is a screening process where documentation is submitted by the property owner; phase 2, the assessor reviews the documents submitted and makes a recommendation on whether the value should be adjusted or not; if the taxpayer does not agree and appeals the decision, the taxpayer presents his case to a hearing officer in phase 3; phase 4, if needed the Utah State Tax Commission mediates disputes and makes a final decision.

Gathering the property documentation is imperative in determining the basis for the appeal. Applicants should follow the directions on the Salt Lake County Property Tax Appeals website. The appeals website lists five different bases for an appeal. One or more of these scenarios might be applicable. If you find yourself in need of using Basis Appeal C (sale values of properties comparable to mine within one year differ from County’s proposed value), please contact our Niche Team as your trusted real estate advisors.

As professional realtors, we are here to assist you with knowing your home’s value for any reason.

Niche Homes is a full-service real estate agency specializing in Wasatch Front neighborhoods and enclaves. Contact us if you are interested in buying or selling a home.

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