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2011 Property Tax Bills Are Here


multnomah county property tax

Ugh… My absolute least favorite time of the year is when I get the property tax bill (in our case, several property tax bills). Sure, April 15 is pretty crappy too, but at least I don’t have to write a bunch of big checks to the government.

This year our property tax went down about 10%, a puzzling and pleasant development. The assessed value went up 3% like usual and I thought our tax bills would also go up 3%. I checked online and everything I read indicated that the property tax bill would rise as usual. I thought the voters voted down a bunch of ballots so the tax decreased, but apparently that is not the case.

values: last year this year
Market values:
land 0 0
structure 257,400 225,060
total RMV value 257,400 225,060
Taxable Values:
assessed value (AV) 188,760 194,420
Property Taxes 3,990.85 3,550.33

In Oregon, we see two numbers in our property tax bill.

  • The RMV (Real Market Value) is the estimated value of our home on the previous Jan 1st.
  • The AV (Assessed Value) is the attempt to cap the increase of property tax to 3% each year. Measure 50 was passed in 1997 and since then, the AV goes up 3% every year regardless of what happens in the real estate market.

The county calculates the property tax based on the lower number between RMV and AV. As you can see the RMV is generally higher than the AV.

You can imagine my surprise when the AV value went up, but our property tax went down. Last year, I went in to appeal our property tax and actually got a small check back from the county. The surprising thing I learned was that the county won’t take foreclosures and short sales into account when deciding upon an appeal. All the evidence I had taken in were bank sales, so they didn’t lower our property tax very much. The RMV value went down as I appealed, but it is still higher than the AV.

I don’t know if I will file an appeal this year. I guess I should take some time and go over the sales in our neighborhood. If I see anything that I can use, I’ll appeal again.

In conclusion, I have no idea why our property tax bill went down, but I’m not complaining. If I can lower it even more, I would do it in a flash. I guess if the housing value keeps dropping, eventually the RMV will be lower than the AV and we would get substantial savings at that point.

Did you property tax bill increase or decrease this year? Are you planning to appeal?

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • MoneyCone October 24, 2011, 9:43 am

    Hey, that’s a pleasant surprise – not bad for a time of the year no one likes!

  • Aloysa October 24, 2011, 11:31 am

    Oh, I am soooo mad at myself for not appealing this year. The bill goes up every year and I totally spaced that I was going to appeal. I need to see if there is still time for this. Our property value went down, so how come our property tax bill goes up and up and up every single year?

    • retirebyforty October 24, 2011, 1:26 pm

      I think you still have time. The appeal window is usually 3 months after the bill is due. Check it out!
      Yeah, I think that’s what is happening with all home owners. Kind of suck…

    • Jon -- Free Money Wisdom October 25, 2011, 7:53 pm

      Thank the Lord I don’t own property. I’m sure I’m singing a different tune in a few years…but right now I am pretty darn grateful to be a renter.

  • SB @ One Cent At A Time October 24, 2011, 12:27 pm

    I have one less worry than you. I don’t have to pay this tax yet..

    • retirebyforty October 24, 2011, 1:26 pm

      You already are paying this tax… through rent. 🙂

  • krantcents October 24, 2011, 3:23 pm

    In California, they increase the tax bill 2% a year. Taxes are set when you bought the pproperty at 1.025% of the sales price.

  • My University Money October 24, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Your Municipal and City governments are doing a pretty good job of at least one thing judging by your informative graphic – balancing budgets. There is not a lot of money going to crazy debt repayment, or paying exorbitant municipal bond rates plainly.

  • YFS @ Yourfinancessimplified October 24, 2011, 5:38 pm

    My property tax bill for my primary residence went down but my rental properties went up. I own rentals in New York and their taxes are ridiculous as is. I’m definitely going to fight it

    • retirebyforty October 24, 2011, 11:06 pm

      Good luck. I’ll research my area too and see if I can appeal.

  • Roshawn @ Watson Inc October 24, 2011, 6:42 pm

    I don’t think there are many people who are thrilled around tax time, at least not many of the people I know. I don’t even remember the last time I got a refund. 🙁

  • 101 Centavos October 24, 2011, 7:47 pm

    Our property taxes are going up this year… again. Our city probably needs to get into yet another hare-brained private-public “partnership”. First, it was a trash-burning energy plant (closed). Then, a discount airline (bankrupt). The next one could be something like alpaca farming for disadvantaged winos.

    • retirebyforty October 24, 2011, 11:05 pm

      Wow, that is crazy. Don’t you get to vote on these partnership?

      • 101 Centavos October 25, 2011, 3:36 am

        Well, you get to vote for local government. No telling the high-jinks they’ll get up to once they’re safely ensconced in office.

  • Jeff @ Sustainable life blog October 25, 2011, 8:17 am

    that 3% increase is nuts! I dont have a property that could get taxed, so its not a huge deal with me. Probably will be soon though.

    • retirebyforty October 25, 2011, 9:14 am

      The 3% increase works as a cap so in the good old days, everyone was happy about property tax only increasing 3%. 🙂
      Now, we are all complaining about it.

  • Hunter @ Financially Consumed October 25, 2011, 3:03 pm

    Our bill has declined every year for the last 5, in line with declining property values. All indicators point to an increase next year. Not looking forward to that.

  • youngandthrifty October 25, 2011, 6:09 pm

    Is that per year?

    In vancouver, we get it split up two times a year, but my property tax bill adds up to that amount too 🙁 (sucks)

    Is the appeal worth it for the extra time it takes?

    I am 100% sure the property tax will go up in my neighbourhood. I think they want money for the Olympics and the Riots and Occupy Vancouver LOL.

    Apparently Occupy Vancouver has cost City of Vancouver $500,000 already for police enforcement.

  • Kellen October 26, 2011, 8:55 am

    You should be able to see enough detail on your property tax bill to tell where the difference is coming from. I know in the few counties that I’m familiar with, the bill typically shows the value the tax is being paid on, times the rate applied for each specific type of property tax. If you compare those details to last year’s bill, you should be able to see a difference.

    So a Fulton county bill here in Atlanta looks like a grid with columns for:
    Levies – what the tax is, exactly. For Atlanta, this is broken down into Bond, General, Parks, School Bond, School.

    Assessment – assessed value (the same for all types of levies)

    Exemptions – you can get exemptions for occupying the home, being old, some other things. Not every levy qualifies for the exemption. This may be where some of your difference is coming from.

    Net Assessment – assessed value minus exemption

    Net Rate – each levy has a different rate. This is another place your differece might come from.

    State Credit – typically not applicable

    Tax = net assessment times net rate

    Probably more information than you wanted to know, but it’s worrying not to know why your taxes went down!

    • retirebyforty October 26, 2011, 11:22 am

      I went over the detail and it’s still quite puzzling. I’ll go over it in more detail before I send off the checks.

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