No one loves taxes, but tax revenue does pay for a lot of community needs and services – one of the more reliable taxes government uses is property tax. Approximately 50 percent of all property tax revenues go to school districts, with counties receiving 25 to 30 percent and the balance going to cities and local districts. But it’s the counties who are most heavily involved in the property tax system.
Because of the statutory formulas relating to property tax, it is relatively stable, showing slow growth in inflationary times and protection from dramatic revenue decreases in periods of economic downturn.
The basic structure of the property tax is provided in the Utah Constitution Article 13 Section 2. It basically says that everyone who owns property will be taxed on it and that the tax will be based on fair market value. Secton 3 of Article 13 indicates that there are some exemptions such as libraries, schools, and non-profit organizations (to name just a few).
A more detailed structure and laws of the property tax system is found in Utah Code Title 59 Chapter 2. These laws cover the constitutional provisions as well as the operational procedures for the property tax system that involves county commissions or councils, executives, assessors, auditors, recorders, and treasurers.
Initial assessments of property taxes begin January 1 and end with collection of the property tax on November 30. The State Tax Commission – Property Tax Division has the general supervisory power over local elected officials in the system, and as such administrates all the rules and operations.
The system is complex and involves many different parts working in together to create a fair outcome for all tax-paying citizens. Other considerations include:
- Why Do We Have Property Tax?
- Property Tax Hierarchy of Law
- Personal Property
- Centrally Assessed Property Taxes
- Assessment (including who is assessing and what methods they use to evaluate)
- Adjustments of Property Values (Board of Equalization and State Tax Commission)
- Establishment of Rates
- Collection of Property Tax
- Property Tax System
- Tax Relief
- Truth in Taxation
- Funding of Municipal Services Provided by Counties
- Understanding the Tax Commission Website