Utah Property Taxes
Overview of Utah Property Taxes
Every homeowner in Utah is required to pay property taxes in the county where their property is located. Like in most states, Utah property taxes are handled at the county level with the state playing an oversight role. Property taxes are a major source of funding for local government services including school districts, law enforcement, and municipal/city infrastructure.
Each year, the state and its local governments collect $26 billion in total revenue. Of that, $3 billion or 12.28% of total revenue comes from property taxes. Generally speaking, Utah is a tax-friendly state for homeowners as indicated by the lower percentage of property taxes compared to total revenue. Homeowners pay an average of $6.70 for every $1,000 of home value in property taxes. The average Utah property tax bill adds up to $1,669. However, the amount you pay as a homeowner depends on the location of your property. For instance, homeowners in San Juan County pay an average of $683 while those in Wasatch County pay $2,133.
How do Utah property taxes work? It starts with the valuation of the property. Each county has assessors who are tasked with valuing properties for purposes of taxation. The assessors are required to physically inspect properties at least once every five years. Property is assessed at 100% of it's market value, or the amount the property would sell for in the open market. Market value equals the assessed value. Exemptions are deducted from the market value to get the taxable value, which is the value upon which tax rates are applied to get your annual Utah property tax bill.
Utah state laws dictate that primary residences receive an exemption of 45% of fair market value. Subsequently, the taxable value is 55% of the market value. For instance, if your property has a market value of $100,000, the taxable value would be ($100,000 x 55%) $55,000. Utah property tax rates are applied to that figure.
The state of Utah has over 1,000 taxing units and each has its own tax rates. Counties, cities, school districts, and water districts are allowed to levy property taxes. Consequently, the total tax rates depend on the location of your property and the taxing units that levy property taxes. Utah property tax rates are expressed as a percentage of your property's taxable value. If the total tax rate is 1.5% and your home has a taxable value of $55,000, your annual Utah property tax bill would add up to ($55,000 x 1.5%) $825.
If you are planning to buy a home in Utah and want to understand how much your property tax bill could potentially cost, check out our Utah Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
Utah Property Tax Due Dates
All properties within Utah are assessed for property taxes as of January 1 each year. The state requires that counties send Property Valuation Notices to homeowners before their Utah property tax bill can increase. Valuation notices are mailed to taxpayers in July. Property tax notices are typically mailed on the third week of October. If you have not received your tax notice by November 1st, contact your County Treasurer. Failure to receive a tax bill does not exempt you from paying Utah property taxes or the penalties that come with late payment.
You can appeal property taxes if you disagree with the County Assessor's valuation of your property. Appeals are filed with the County Board of Equalization (BOE) which sits in August/September. If you are still unsatisfied with the BOE's decision, you can appeal to the Tax Commission Appeals Unit. However, you can only appeal your property's valuation, not the amount of taxes.
But when are property taxes due in Utah? Property taxes are due on November 30. If the due date falls on a weekend, it is pushed to the next business day. Utah property taxes are payable to the County Treasurer. Taxes that remain unpaid after Utah property tax due dates result in a penalty at the rate of $10.00 minimum or 1%, whichever is greater, from December 1st. If the taxes remain unpaid by January 31, an additional penalty of 1.5% is added. Interest will also be charged after January 31, effective January 1 at a rate of 2%. Interest is calculated using the number of calendar days from the original due date of the return until the tax is paid. The following formula can help you calculate the amount of interest due: (unpaid tax) x (interest rate) x (number of days) / 365 = Amount of Interest Due.
Utah Property Tax Exemptions
Besides the option to appeal property taxes if wrongly valued, the state of Utah also offers several exemptions to eligible homeowners. They include senior and homestead exemptions. Beneficiaries of these exemptions can reduce their Utah property tax bills. However, even eligible homeowners are still subject to Utah property tax due dates.
Utah Homestead Exemption
Utah's homestead exemption exempts 45% of your principal residence's market value from Utah property taxes. This means taxes are applied to 55% of your property's market value. To qualify, you must own and occupy the property for 183 consecutive days in the year. Your Valuation Notice or the Tax Notice indicates if you qualify for this exemption.
Utah Senior Citizens Exemption
Utah's senior exemption is known as the Circuit Breaker Tax Abatement. Under this provision, eligible senior residents benefit from a 20% reduction in their property's market value and up to a $1,043 tax credit on their principal residence. To qualify, you must have lived in the state of Utah for the entire year, be aged at least 66 years as of January 1, 2021, and meet certain income limit requirements. Applications for this exemption must be filed by September 1.
Other Utah property tax exemptions include the disabled veterans exemption. Under this exemption, up to $271,736 of the taxable value of a disabled veteran's primary residence is exempted from Utah property taxes. The exemption is based on the percentage of the veteran's disability. To qualify, the veteran's disability must have been incurred in the line of duty. They must also produce a current Veteran's Administration certification letter showing the percentage of the disability. The surviving, unmarried spouse of an eligible veteran also qualifies for this exemption.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Utah
You can appeal property taxes in Utah if you believe your property's valuation is higher than its market value. A successful appeal can potentially lower your Utah property taxes. The first appeal avenue is with the Assessor's Office. The appeal is either reviewed by the assessor or administratively by a Hearing Officer. If an agreement is not reached, your appeal is scheduled for hearing before the County Board of Equalization (BOE). Appeals to the County Board are filed with the County Clerk/Auditor. If you are not satisfied with the BOE's decision, you can appeal to the Utah State Tax Commission. As a final resort, you can appeal the state commission's decisions to the 3rd District Court.
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across Utah 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 Salt Lake County
To help you understand how to appeal your property taxes in Utah, the following is a breakdown of the process in Salt Lake County, the most populous county in Utah.
Obtain your assessment
Details of your property's assessment can be found on your Property Valuation Notice or your tax statement. Alternatively, you can consult the Salt Lake County Treasurer's office.
Determine if you are over-assessed
One way to determine if your property's valuation is a reflection of its true value is by checking out the sales prices of similar units within our locality. TaxProper's search tool can help you with the search. The Salt Lake County Assessor's website has a similar tool at your disposal.
Complete forms needed to appeal
The forms you need to appeal property taxes will be provided to you at the Salt Lake County Auditor's office. The forms can also be found online on the County Auditor's website.
File property tax appeal
Property tax appeals are filed to the Office of the Salt Lake County Auditor/Property Tax Division.
Prepare for hearing
The assessor's valuation of your property is presumed correct. The burden of proof lies with you as the homeowner. Preparation for an appeal hearing means collecting relevant evidence supporting your opinion of value. This can include but is not limited to appraisal reports, a minimum of three and a maximum of five comparable sales, and photographs showing the condition of your property. An appeal deemed not to have sufficient evidence will be dismissed.
You don't need to attend a property tax appeal hearing before the Salt Lake County Board of Equalization as long as you filed the required evidence when filing your appeal with the County Auditor/Property Tax Division. You will not be penalized for not appearing before the board. The appeal form allows you to choose either an in-person hearing, phone hearing, or virtual hearing.
Appeal the decision
If you are not satisfied with the BOE's findings, you can file a further appeal to the Utah State Tax Commission within 30 days of the BOE rendering their decision.