Understanding Property Taxes

A Guide to Understanding Property Taxes

The process of taxing and collecting taxes is not a simple one. This guide contains information to provide the taxpayer with a complete understanding of the taxation process.

What is a property tax and how is it figured?

A property tax is an ad valorem tax - one that is based on the value of the property being taxed. The County Assessor is charged with the responsibility of determining the market value of your property. Once established, an assessment ratio determined by the legislature is applied to market value. The assessment ratios are currently 11.5% for industrial property and 9.5% for commercial and residential property. After multiplying the market value by the assessment ratio, the resulting number is called the "assessed valuation". The mill levy is applied to the assessed valuation to determine general taxes.

For example, assume you have a home worth $100,000 that is located in the city limits of Rawlins. Figure your tax bill as follows:

First, determine assessed valuation => $100,000 (market value) x 9.5% (assessment ratio) = $9,500 (assessed valuation). Then, apply the mill levy to determine tax => $9,500 x .07600 (2002 mill levy) = $722.00.

What is a mill levy?

A mill is one one-thousandth of a dollar. Therefore, there is $1 of tax per thousand dollars of assessed value for each mill levied. The "mill levy" is the total number of mills applied to your assessed value. Various entities are legally entitled to charge mills against properties in their districts, subject to limits. The entities determine their budget needs, then levy the mills necessary to provide the needed funds.