MAY 27, 2010

Property Valuation (Assessment) Notices being mailed

By Mellisa Stewart, Clearwater County Assessor

   2010 Property Valuation (Assessment) Notices are being mailed out to Clearwater County property owners. Please review it carefully and contact the Assessorís Office at 208-476-7042 by June 28, if you have any questions regarding the value, accuracy of information, or need further clarification.

   Remember that the Assessor does not establish the market; it is the buyers and sellers who determine the market. Values are not increased in order to generate more revenue, but to provide equity across Clearwater County by distributing the tax burden proportionally according to the market.

   The changes in your assessed value are a result of either physical inspections or sales analysis throughout the county, to bring values in line with reported market sales. The Assessorís office is holding values as low as possible based on Idaho Code requirements, in anticipation of a continued market down turn for 2010. Values changes can be affected by: market adjustments applied each year, changes picked up by the Assessorís office during reappraisal, any construction not previously appraised, or land use changes. Market changes for 2010 include about a 10 percent decrease in Orofinoís residential improved values and no change for either land or commercial values.

   Pierce residential or commercial properties will have no market changes, but residential land will decrease about 10 percent in value.

   Weippe residential properties will see no market changes in residential or commercial values.

   Elk River residential and commercial improvements will see no market changes, but land will increase about 50 percent in value.

   Manufactured homes will see some changes due to updated cost schedules. Some of the Rural Subdivisions will see an increase in land values. The Rural Areas will see changes in values due to reappraisals and updated cost schedules.

   Timber designated land will see about a 10-15 percent decrease for Category 6, depending on the land class and no change for Category 7. After 12 years, a study was done in 2009 on Agriculture land using cash rents and the USDA soils study, resulting in some substantial changes across the county for crop and grazing land. This is based on a five year average affecting values for 2009 through 2014.

   When values increase, you could see an increase or decrease in your actual taxes depending on the total values in your taxing district, but generally the tax will not change by the same percentage as your values change. This is due to levy limits on individual taxing districts, and the three percent cap on the total amount of property taxes collected in the entire county from one year to the next. Another factor that will affect your tax is the decrease in the homeowner exemption from $104,471 to $101,153 this year, due to a decrease in the Idaho Housing Index.

   The personnel in the Assessorís office will gladly assist in reconciling any concerns you may have, but if you are still dissatisfied with your value, you may appeal it to the Board of Equalization. Appeals must be filed by June 28 on a form obtained from the County Clerkís office or Commissionerís office.

   If you are unhappy with Idahoís property tax system, you can go to Idahoís web page to located addresses and telephone numbers of your legislators as they set the laws that govern how your values are set. To get an ESTIMATE of your tax, go to the State Tax Commissionís web site at