Navigating your property tax bill | ParkRecord.com

Navigating your property tax bill

In less than two weeks, Summit County property tax payments will be due. While half of Summit County’s property owners are preparing to submit their taxes to the county treasurer’s office before the end of the month, the other half won’t need to.

"About half of all the properties in Summit County have their taxes paid through their mortgage payment," said Corrie Forsling, Summit County treasurer. "If a property has a mortgage loan, then the mortgage company often notifies the owner that they are paying the mortgage. The companies don’t usually release the funds until just prior to the due date, which can cause some frustration for property owners."

For those who are responsible for making the payments on their property taxes, most already know how to navigate the system, Forsling said.

"We get some questions about why payments are made toward certain districts, such as the school district, and it’s a fairly common question," Forsling said. "But for the most part, everyone pretty much knows what to do."

Property taxes in Summit County are due on or before Nov. 30. Payments postmarked Nov. 30 will also be accepted. The treasurer’s office, which is the county’s collection agency, collects the monies for each individual taxing entity. The funds then go toward each entity, such as the school districts, fire districts, and recreation district.

Homeowners living in unincorporated areas of the county pay a county municipal tax in addition to the county general tax that is applied to all properties. It supports services such as the Sheriff’s Office, road maintenance and senior services. Municipal taxes support the same services in each city.

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Tax rates for each entity are set using a certified tax rate formula, Forsling said. The County Council and county auditor approve the rates. In August, the Summit County Council agreed to raise the Wildland Fire and Service Area No. 8 property tax rates when approving the 2015 tax rates.

Primary homeowners are eligible for a 45 percent discount on their property taxes, Forsling said. However, secondary homeowners and commercial property owners are responsible for paying taxes on 100 percent of the property’s assessed value. Homeowners have until Nov. 30 to appeal the primary status of a home.

In June, the Summit County Appraiser’s Office sent disclosure notices showing the 2015 property valuations that homeowners would be expected to pay taxes on this month. Homeowners had until Sept. 15 to appeal assessed values through the Board of Equalization. Summit County’s calendar tax year is from Jan. 1 until Dec. 31.

Steve Martin, Summit County assessor, said less than 100 people filed appeals, compared with 1,500 in 2014. Martin said roughly 70 percent of appeals were granted. He said the majority requested changes to a property’s primary status.

The county’s overall assessed valuation for property is $15 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion from 2014, Martin said, adding that it reflects a "strengthening or affirming of the market." Martin said some property owners may have seen at least a 10 percent increase in value.

Property taxes can be paid online, over the phone, via mail, or at one of the county’s three Division of Motor Vehicle locations. If the payment is not received or postmarked by Nov. 30, a 1 percent or $10 penalty, whichever is greater, is applied. After Jan. 31, the penalty increases 1.5 percent and interest is incurred until payment is received. After five years, the property is eligible for state auction.

In 2014, Summit County had a nearly 95 percent collection rate based on all property taxes collected by Dec. 31. However, Forsling said the collection rate varies from entity to entity.

"For example, Park City School District’s collection rate in 2014 was 96.36 percent, well above Utah’s average of about 94 percent last year," Forsling said in an email to The Park Record. "Collection rates also vary with the economy. 2009 was a relatively low collection year, but collection rates have increased every year since."

Forsling said it is important to note that all property taxes are collected within five years of being charged to the property, reflecting a 100 percent collection rate.

For more information, visit the Summit County treasurer’s website at http://summitcounty.org/268/Treasurer.