Summit County officials outline property tax assessment process
Summit County Council scheduled to hear presentation Wednesday, public comment to follow
The rise in property values across Summit County has left many residents questioning the increase in their property taxes, and how the county plans to use the money.
To address community concerns, the county’s assessor, auditor and treasurer are expected to appear before the Summit County Council on Wednesday to explain the assessment process and correct any misunderstandings.
Stephanie Poll, the county assessor, said the office is tasked with identifying the market value of all residential, commercial and personal property in Summit County. The State Tax Commission requires each county to do a 5-year detailed review cycle, but Poll said they also do yearly appraisals by using the sales information of comparable properties in the area.
“We are required to be within 5% of the market analysis that is completed every January/February. We are required to factor property values outside of a detailed review if the sales in a particular neighborhood warrant it,” Poll said.
Staffers use data from 2021 when determining the valuation for 2022. However, Poll said, part of the issue is that properties become “undervalued” months later.
The median value of a single-family home in Summit County is $906,242. In Park City and the Snyderville Basin area, it’s approximately $2.6 million, according to Poll. There was also a 58% increase in the sale prices of single-family homes in Summit County in fiscal year 2021 and an additional 11% growth in fiscal year 2022.
“The state gives Jan. 1 as the lien date. Because of this, the county must, in essence, have a snapshot of the market at that date and time. We use values from the prior year to set the value for the current year,” she said. “By the time the taxpayer receives their disclosure notice in July, our values are already low again in a gaining market.”
All properties throughout Summit County are assessed each year, but there might not be an increase or decrease in property taxes if there are no sales to justify a change, according to Poll.
She said when property values rise, the tax rate decreases because county taxing entities are not allowed to take in the additional money. The tax rate must be adjusted, or the groups are required to go through Truth-in-Taxation, which is a process that forces local governments and school districts to hold a public hearing to inform taxpayers of the increase before voting on the changes.
“Some properties that may not have seen an increase in value this year may have seen a tax dollar decrease,” Poll said. “For example, if they were in a detailed review recently and were brought closer to market and no current sales warranted a change, those properties could realize a decrease in taxes.”
According to county data, a Coalville residence valued at $727,573 in 2021 paid $994.01 in property taxes. This year, the home was valued at over $1.4 million and is expected to pay around $1,100 in property taxes even though the rate is lower now.
Homeowners can file an appeal through the Board of Equalization until 5 p.m. on Sept. 15 if they feel their property is valued too high. Appeals can only be made on the market value, not the tax amount. Final tax bills will be mailed in October.
“What a taxpayer needs to do is ask themselves ‘Could I sell my property for this value?’ If the answer is yes, then there would be no reason to appeal,” Poll said. “If they feel that the value is too high, they can submit supporting documentation to support the value they think it should be.”
Documentation such as comparative market analysis from a local realtor, appraisals that use 2021 sales or closing documents on the purchase of the property can be used to support an appeal. Visit summitcounty.org/boe or contact the Summit County Auditor’s Office for more information.
“Our processes are bound by state law, and while we have a great amount of compassion for those who are struggling right now with the increase in most living costs, there often isn’t a lot we can do to change the outcome,” Poll said.
Taxpayers who think they may qualify for tax assistance or are curious about what resources are available should contact the treasurer’s office at 435-336-3038.
The property tax presentation is scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the Richins Building, 1885 W. Ute Blvd in Park City. Public comment will be taken in-person and via Zoom after the discussion.
Summit County Clerk Evelyn Furse said ballots are expected to be mailed on Oct. 18 and should arrive later that week.
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