Nebraska Property Taxes
Overview of Nebraska Property Taxes
All property in Nebraska is subject to property taxes every year unless exempted. Like in most other states in the country, Nebraska property taxes are levied and administered by local taxing authorities including school districts, county governments, and cities. The state and its local governments collect $17 billion in total revenue every year. Of that, $3.7 billion or 20.97% of total revenue comes from property taxes. Generally, Nebraska is a high tax state as indicated by the higher percentage of property taxes compared to total revenue.
The average homeowner pays $17.46 for every $1,000 of home value in property taxes. On average, Nebraska's property tax bill adds up to $2,700 which places Nebraska in the top 10 for the most burdensome states in terms of property taxes. However, the tax bill depends on the county in which your property is located. For instance, homeowners in Adams County pay an average of $2,087 while those in Grant County pay $874.
How do Nebraska property taxes work? It starts with the valuation of properties. As of Jan. 1, 12:01 a.m. each year, County Assessors are required to value properties within their jurisdiction. The assessors are not required to physically visit properties for assessment and valuation is conducted using the professionally accepted mass appraisal techniques. This involves the sales comparison approach, income approach, and cost approach. State laws require that properties be assessed at 100% of "actual value" or the amount a willing buyer would pay for the property. If your home has an actual value of $100,000, that will be the assessed value. Tax rates are applied to the assessed value to determine your annual Nebraska property tax bill.
Nebraska property tax rates are set by the local taxing districts by dividing their budgetary requirements by the total taxable value of properties within their jurisdiction. Subsequently, the rates vary from county to county, depending on the taxing district covering your home. The tax rates are expressed as a percent of $100 of assessed value. Your Nebraska property tax bill is calculated by multiplying your home's assessed/taxable value with the total combined tax rates in the taxing district where your property is located.
If you are planning to buy a home in Nebraska and want to understand how much your property tax bill could potentially cost, check out our Nebraska Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
Nebraska Property Tax Due Dates
As previously mentioned, the date on which properties are valued for purposes of taxation is January 1, 12:01 a.m. each year. Homeowners receive their Property Tax Statements in early to mid-December. Assessors must also notify homeowners of an increase or decrease in property valuation. Failure to receive a tax statement does not excuse you from paying Nebraska property taxes. If you don't receive a tax bill, contact your County Treasurer.
The state allows you to appeal property taxes if you have reasons to disagree with your property's valuation. Appeals are filed with the County Board of Equalization. If the appeal at this level does not produce satisfactory results, you can further appeal to the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission (Commission). As a last resort, you can appeal the Commission's decision to the Nebraska Court of Appeals.
But when are property taxes due in Nebraska? Property taxes must be paid to the County Treasurer by December 31. The state allows homeowners to pay Nebraska property taxes in two installments. The first installment in most of the state is due by May 1 while the second installment must be paid by September 1. However, the due dates are different for Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy counties where the first and second half payments are due by April 1 and August 1 respectively.
Property taxes that remain unpaid after Nebraska property tax due dates result in interest computed at 14% annually. Delinquent Nebraska property taxes can lead to a "Tax Sale", a public auction in which the highest bidder takes your property. The state gives you a three-year "redemption period" in which to pay all delinquent taxes, interests, and other costs. At the end of the redemption period, the winning bidder at the tax sale assumes ownership of your property.
Nebraska Property Tax Exemptions
Besides the option to appeal property taxes if you disagree with the assessor's valuation of your property, the state offers several exemptions to eligible homeowners. The most common are homestead and senior exemptions. These exemptions can reduce your Nebraska property tax burden. However, even eligible homeowners are still subject to Nebraska property tax due dates.
Nebraska Homestead Exemption
Nebraska's homestead exemption exempts all or a portion of a property's taxable value from Nebraska property taxes depending on the eligibility of the homeowner. Qualified disabled individuals and homeowners above 65 are eligible for this exemption. However, some categories can be subject to household income and residence valuation requirements. Additionally, application forms must be filed with the County Assessor between February 3 and June 30. More details about this exemption can be obtained from the official Nebraska government website.
Nebraska Senior Citizens Exemption
Nebraska's senior exemption is an extension of the homestead exemption. It provides a partial or full exemption of the property's assessed value from Nebraska property taxes depending on the homeowner's eligibility. To qualify, homeowners must be at least 65 years of age, own and occupy a property as their primary residence from January 1 through August 15, and meet certain income limit requirements. The Nebraska Homestead Exemption Information Guide has additional details about this exemption.
Other Nebraska property tax exemptions include the disabled veteran's exemption which is also an extension of the homestead exemption. Under this provision, disabled veterans and their surviving, unmarried spouses receive a property tax exemption on their principal residence. This exemption applies to veterans whose injuries are connected to military service and those whose disabilities are not connected to military service. The veteran must own and occupy the property as their principal residence from January 1 through August 15. Details about income requirements and the amounts exempted can be obtained from the Nebraska Homestead Exemption Information Guide.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Nebraska
The state of Nebraska allows you to appeal property taxes if you have reasons to believe your property's valuation exceeds its market value. A successful appeal can lower your Nebraska property taxes. The process starts with a preliminary meeting with the County Assessor where an appraiser will explain how your property's value was determined. If you still disagree with the assessor, you can file an official appeal with the County Board of Equalization on or before June 30. The County Clerk mails you a notice of the County Board's decisions as of August 2 or August 18 if the county has extended the deadline for hearing property tax appeals. If you believe the County Board's decision is unfair, further appeal avenues are available with the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission (Commission) and finally, the Nebraska Court of Appeals.
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across Nebraska though it generally follows the same steps from county to county:
- Obtain your assessment
- Determine if you are overassessed
- Complete forms needed to appeal
- File property tax appeal
- Prepare for hearing
- Attend hearing
- Appeal the decision
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Douglas County
To help you understand how to appeal your property taxes in Nebraska, here is a breakdown of the process in Douglas County, the most populous county in Nebraska.
Obtain your assessment
Details of your property's assessment can be obtained from your Property Tax Statement. Alternatively, you can contact the Douglas County Assessor.
Determine if you are over-assessed
One of the methods used to value your property is the sales comparison approach. You can check out the sales prices of similar properties within your neighborhood and see how their values compare to the value placed on your property. TaxProper's search tool can help you in that endeavor. The Douglas County Assessor's website also has a similar tool at your disposal.
Complete forms needed to appeal
The forms you need to appeal property taxes can be obtained from the Douglas County Clerk's office. Alternatively, they can be downloaded from the Douglas County Board of Equalization (BOE)'s website.
File property tax appeal
Property tax appeals are filed with the Douglas County Board of Equalization (BOE) between June 1 and June 30.
Prepare for hearing
The Assessor's valuation of your property is presumed correct and the burden of proof lies with you, the homeowner. Preparation for an appeal hearing involves collecting and organizing evidence challenging the assessor's valuation. This can include but is not limited to physical characteristics of the property, comparable sales, and an appraisal report from a credentialed real estate appraiser.
The Douglas County Board of Equalization requires you to attend a property tax appeal hearing to present your evidence. The BOE allows you 8 minutes to do so. Alternatively, you can send a representative.
Appeal the decision
If not satisfied with the BOE's decision, you can appeal to the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission within 30 days of the mailing of the BOE's decision. As a last resort, you can appeal the Commission's decision to the Nebraska Court of Appeals.
Property Tax Information for Nebraska Counties
The table below provides county-level information about how property taxes work in each Nebraska county.
Want to learn more? Click the county links to learn more about a specific Nebraska county.
|County||Average Home Value||Average Tax Bill||Bill per $1,000|
|Box Butte County||$103,737||$1,602||$15.40|
|Keya Paha County||$164,340||$1,987||$12.10|
|Red Willow County||$94,234||$1,430||$15.20|
|Scotts Bluff County||$134,029||$2,083||$15.50|