A Guide to Understanding Those Property Appraisal Notices
Residents statewide are opening their mailboxes to find their biennial property classification and appraisal notice from the Montana Department of Revenue.
Missoula County Treasurer Tyler Gernant said on Monday to read the statement carefully and know that it is NOT A TAX BILL.
“The biggest takeaway from that document is to not look at your estimated taxes and think that that is anywhere close to what your taxes will actually be,” said Gernant. “That estimated tax is based on last year’s millage rate, so it’s going to be old in that sense, but it’s also not going to include any of the special assessments.”
Gernant explained the special assessments that will be added to that amount on your appraisal notice. “Specifically, people who are in Special Improvement Districts (SID’s) or Rural Improvement Districts,” he said. “Those folks typically have a fairly sizable chunk of their taxes related to those improvement districts, so those are not represented (on the appraisal) but they can range anywhere from $100 a year to $1,000 a year depending on what that improvement was. It could be sidewalks, a street, streetlights or something like that.”
Gernant said that property owners with questions or protests should contact the Montana Department of Revenue, either in Helena or at their offices in Hamilton or Missoula. “There are two ways, really,” he said. “You can go online to MT Revenue dot gov where they have a big section about property appraisal notices. You have until July 18th to file an informal request for reappraisal.”
There are other factors that will increase property tax bills in Missoula County, such as the $158 million school bond election in 2016, the recent $35 million bond for the new Missoula Public Library, the $10 million open space bond, and the $42 million county bond several years ago that created the new Fort Missoula Regional Park. Those factors have nothing to do with how your property is appraised by the Department of Revenue, but they do add to your overall property tax bill.