Property Taxes and You: A 2019 Guide to the Rising Boise-area Tax Rates

With property tax rates rising, homeowners in the Treasure Valley are looking for change. State Legislators are gathering to address high property tax rates in Ada and Canyon County especially, where rising home values have skyrocketed over the last few years, leaving some long-time residents priced-out of the city altogether. As a homeowner or real estate investor, all this change may have you asking what you can expect from your own property taxes in 2019.

This week, 208.properties bring you the answers.

Many aspects of the Idaho tax code are implemented at state level, such as a homeowner’s exemption and the percentage taxing districts like cities can increase revenue collection. After that, city budgeting and tax commissions determine exactly what ends up on your property tax bill.

With rapidly rising home values interacting with policies created before growth in the Boise-area hit a swell, residents are seeing higher Ada and Canyon county tax rates than they are used to. Here’s why:

Rising Tax Rates

In the 2018 tax-year, the property taxes collected across Idaho increased by 6.4%,marking the highest increase in taxes paid in a decade. In Ada County, property taxes will account for 47% of the county’s 2019 budget, a budget that has seen a 27% increase in the last 4 years alone.

While taxing districts set their levy rate—the rate calculated in combination with home value to determine tax rates—lower as property values rise to offset some of the burden to taxpayers, median home values in Ada and Canyon counties have risen high enough that levy rates and homeowner’s exemptions don’t provide the relief they used to.

According to data from the Ada County Assessor, the median residential value in Ada County is $307,900. This is around a 14% increase from last year. Meanwhile, the levy rate decreased at about 0.08%.

Graphic Provided by    Ada County Assessor

Graphic Provided by Ada County Assessor

As home values rise, property taxes rise with them, with little relief under current Idaho Property Tax Laws.


Idaho Property Tax Laws

Currently, Idaho has capped the homeowner’s exemption on property taxes at 50% of the property value or $100,000, whichever is less. This means that Idahoan’s only have to pay taxes on half the value of their property up to the point that their property is worth $200,000. After that, the amount a homeowner can be taxed on their property quickly inflates, and in Ada and Canyon counties where home values are rising fast, that $100,000 exemption is continually coming up short.

According to state law, cities like Boise, Nampa, and Caldwell can boost the tax-rates they charge on property up to 3% per year without needing any kind of approval from voters. On top of that, city governments can also draw on any potentially forgone taxes from previous years. This means that if the government did not charge the full 3% increase in a given year, it can quietly come back for that money in a process known as clawbacks. Clawbacks of forgone amounts have increasingly been used as a source of funding across the State of Idaho.

Graphic Provided by the    Idaho State Tax Commission

Graphic Provided by the Idaho State Tax Commission

What will you pay?

Elements like clawbacks make predicting the exact amount of your property tax in a year difficult, but running your home value minus the exemption you might receive against the current levy rate gives at least a ballpark figure. Use a property tax calculator to help give you a better idea of what you’ll pay.

Property taxes across the Treasure Valley are on the rise. Some blame the greediness of local governments, others the influx of new residents, but to keep property taxes down, legislatures will new to draft new guidelines for Idaho.

How do you think legislatures should regulate property taxes? Do you think cities should be allowed to increase tax rates and collect forgone amounts each year without voter approval? Share your thoughts, comments, and experiences with us at 208.properties, and thank you for reading.