Taxes increasing for area residents

   Fallon County is in the middle of a perfect tax storm. The impact from Senate Bill 157 in conjunction with the Bakken boom and speculation has caused local property values to skyrocket.

By Lori Kesinger

   “You are going to see your taxes go up, bottom line,” said Larry Richards, MT Department of Revenue (ROD) Regional Manager, Billings.  Richards held an informational session in Baker June 24 about how the state determines property values.

  SB 157 simplified the process for paying property taxes but is causing higher rates for the region. It also eliminated exemptions and the 16 percent phase-in. The bill also changed the state from a six-year assessment cycle to a two-year cycle (2015-2016) for residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural property. Forest land remains on a six-year appraisal cycle.

   Residential properties will show the largest increase at 28 percent in taxable values, due to the spike in housing market values. Farmers will see taxable value on ag land down six percent because of the SB 157 changes to production values. Commercial property is up 15 percent.

   Residents can appeal their assessment, but it must be filed with the DOR, the county or state tax appeal board or district court within 30 days after receiving the assessment notice. It can still be appealed after that, but won’t take effect until the following year.

   “If you wait until you receive your tax bill, it’s too late,” Richards said. “And the sad reality is, we would have had to make a really gross error for you to see a major adjustment in your tax bill.”

   Taxpayers should receive an assessment notice by July 6. It is not a tax bill.