Aug. 2, 2022
Utah Property Taxes Discriminate. You may have been stunned if you've received your Washington County, Utah, annual property tax valuation bill. There are two issues I'm going to discuss in this article. Issue ONE...the ADDED tax showing on the bill they plan to vote on August 18th, 2022--please attend the meeting if you can--this should be voted against. Due to a prior commitment, I cannot make it to the City Council meeting on the 18th. Issue TWO...our broken property valuation system.
Property taxes are not uniform or fair. Essentially, they discriminate between neighborhoods and the sales activity within them. Utah is a non-disclosure state. Homeowners are not required to report how much they paid for their property. Occasionally, tax-paying homeowners get lucky, and the Assessor values the property for less than the sale price. But now I'm asking, WHY are we a non-disclosure state? WHY aren't property values based on what you paid? Why are our values determined by a city worker based only on the size and similarities of nearby homes?
There is an argument that if Utah becomes a disclosure state, it will encourage higher taxes, but it should be known that the Assessor already has access to our MLS, so our "secret data" isn't secret. I'm not sure who we are hiding it from...if not the Assessor.
Here is a property valuation example that would be applicable here in Washington County. Two different people purchase a home for $600,000. One person declared what they paid, and their valued assessment resulted nearly identical to their purchase price. The other buyer did NOT disclose the purchase price, and their assessed value resulted in $400,000. Two people paid the SAME purchase price, yet one person is paying $2,000 LESS in property tax for their home. Fair? For this example, the sellers originally purchased the homes for $200,000 (as did many neighbors). The sellers cashed out with a hefty profit, all the neighbors now receive increased valuation assessments, and one of the buyers is saving $2,000 (for now). Fair? The following year that owner gets reassessed and is SHOCKED to receive a $2,400 higher tax bill unexpectedly. His property taxes were impounded, and now his payments are going up by $200 a month to offset the taxes. This is substantial for anyone to receive, and many unsuspecting taxpayers will receive this considerable increase in 2022. Fair?