Andrew Czorny

Did you recently receive a letter from the Montana Department of Revenue?

It's not a tax bill from Missoula County. It’s an appraisal notice issued by the Montana Department of Revenue showing the current assessed value of your property. The state DOR, not Missoula County, calculates this value every two years, which is a key factor in determining the property taxes you’ll owe this year. Those property taxes help fund several taxing jurisdictions you live in, including the County.

The notice will have two key numbers: the updated assessed value of your property and the estimated taxes for 2023. Since real property values in Missoula County increased an average of 37% over the past two years, you may have experienced sticker shock when you saw that second number.

It’s important to note that the estimated taxes figure you see on the DOR notice uses the mills levied last year. But the spike in the real estate market that resulted in higher property appraisals by DOR will in turn increase this year’s mill values in Missoula County. This means Missoula County, the City of Missoula and the other taxing jurisdictions within the county, except schools, have the ability to levy fewer mills. As a result, the increase to the County portion of your taxes should be less than the estimated amount on your DOR notice, depending on your property’s individual appraisal increase.

Right now, the important number to pay attention to is the current assessed value of your property. First, make sure to look up the information DOR has on file for your property by visiting property.mt.gov. If you review this information and believe your assessed value is too high, you can file an appeal by July 31 for the 2023 tax year. Filing an appeal means you are requesting a reappraisal of your property’s value. Do not wait until you receive your tax bill in October – it will be too late!

You can start this process in one of two ways:

If you miss the July 31 deadline, you can still appeal the assessment until June 1, 2024. But if you wait until then to appeal, any changes to your assessment would only apply to tax year 2024, not the 2023 tax bill you’ll receive this fall. Also, be aware that this process works both ways; if your appeal finds that your property was undervalued, it would lead to an increase in your assessed value.

It’s also important to note that the estimated taxes listed on the notice do not include special assessments. The location of your property determines your special assessments (i.e., if you live in a certain school, fire, water quality or other special district). You can view the special assessments that will be levied on your property by downloading your current tax bill on the Missoula County iTax website at https://itax.missoulacounty.us/itax/

To learn about Montana tax relief programs, visit https://mtrevenue.gov/taxes/tax-relief-programs. If you still have questions about your appraisal notice, you can talk to an appraiser from the local DOR property assessment field office by calling 406-329-1400. Additional contact information for the Missoula office is online at https://mtrevenue.gov/contact/field-office-locations/. DOR also will also host in-person and virtual public meetings to help property owners understand the property valuation process. Find a link to the schedule at https://mtrevenue.gov/.

Andrew Czorny is the Chief Financial Officer for Missoula County

 

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