Decoding your property taxes
November 23, 2012
Unincorporated or incorporated? Mosquito abatement? Uniform School Fund? With the deadline fast approaching and a whole column of what is owed, property taxes may leave even the savviest homeowners wondering what it all means.
Property taxes in Summit County are due Nov. 30. Collected taxes pay for local school districts, fire and water services, road repairs and much more, with every entity receiving monies outlined on the tax bill.
For homeowners living in unincorporated areas of the county, a County Municipal tax is collected, which provides funding for services such as the sheriff and road repair. Each incorporated area sets the local tax rate, which is used to fund city services such as the local police department and city municipal offices.
"Everyone’s tax bill a little different depending on where they live," said Corrie Forsling, the Summit County Treasurer, "and even whether or not they are full-time residents."
Full-time homeowners are eligible for a 45 percent discount on their property taxes, which will be noted on the tax bill at the top of the left hand column. The market value should be roughly double the taxable value. Second homeowners and commercial property owners’ taxes are assessed based on 100 percent of their market value.
Forsling is responsible for collecting the taxes, a service the county provides. The county does not receive the funding, but is responsible for collecting and dividing the tax revenue. When the taxes are collected, her office disburses the funds to each respective taxing entities outlined on the tax bill.
"Any service you receive from the county, whether you are in an incorporated area such as Wanship or an unincorporated area such as Jeremy Ranch, is going to be provided through the Summit County tax rate."
When residents do not pay property taxes on time, they will be charged a 1 percent penalty. If property taxes continue to go unpaid for five years, the state is authorized to sell the property at auction to pay what is owed.
The largest tax on the bill will be the school district tax, which provides the main source of funding for local public schools. The Uniform School Fund is a state mandated tax that goes into a general education fund for Utah schools and is distributed by the state on a per pupil basis to all school districts.
For those with "Service Area" on their bill, that tax is collected to repair neighborhood roads and is dependent on the neighborhood the property is located in. Weber Basin indicates a tax for water utility services. Mosquito abatement goes to the local Mosquito Abatement District to suppress the pest populations. The local assessment and collection tax funds the county services to assess property values and collect the property tax. Depending on where residents live, the nearest fire department is a taxed service.
"Our collection rate does not vary much," Forsling said. "We usually hit 92 percent by Nov. 30, and ultimately we collect all of it. The overall collection rate is 100 percent, but the initial collection rate is built into a calculation for how much entities have to spend that fiscal year."
For more information on how to pay property taxes, visit http://www.summitcounty.org/assessor.