Corder's Corner

Property Taxes on the Rise

Montana property owners received reappraisal notices many of which indicated drastic increases to the value of their property. These notices are sent out every other year and with the real estate market experiencing higher prices and lower inventory, the increases have some residents and property owners surprised, to say the least.

On average, the value of residential properties increased by 46% as reported by the revenue department. You can see that the values are not consistent across the state. The county with the most drastic increase was Granite County where the average cost of a residential property is $304,410. Even counties with smaller percentage increases are still significant in dollar terms.

Montana property taxes pay for local government services including schools, law enforcement, and fire departments. The math to calculate property taxes is quite complex but it is proportional to the tax base your property represents. And because that is true, if the property values rise evenly across the board, everyone’s bill stays the same. While it is probably true that your neighbor’s property value has indeed increased as well, other types of property values are not rising as quickly. For example, office buildings, multifamily rentals, or commercial values are not selling at such high values to keep up with the residential values. Because it is proportional, home and landowners take on the tax burden. This is why a significant increase is likely for most. This of course is a much simpler explanation than how the taxes are calculated but it gives you the idea.

Just some things to note: the assessed value is derived from the Montana Department of Revenue. Your tax bill is calculated by your county treasurer, however. The estimated tax bill in the appraisal letter you received is based on the mills levied for the past year. Thus, the estimation is just that. Another note-worthy tidbit, the Montana Legislature passed a law that will go into effect in 2025 that will reduce property taxes by directing $30 million per year to county retirement funds. There are taxpayer assistance programs, and the legislature also increased the income and value limits to help fixed-income homeowners. For more information, we encourage you to reach out to your county treasurer.

Whatever your situation, we understand things can get overwhelming with looming bill increases and we’re here to help. If you’d like to discuss your options or sell a portion of your property to alleviate some of the financial burden, we’d be happy to assist. We understand the importance of selling your vacation, hunting, recreational, or farm and ranch property for top dollar.

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