State property tax assessments to be issued soon

BILLINGS – Montana’s property tax assessments are set to hit mailboxes in the next week, and taxpayers wanting to appeal will have to hustle.

Gone are the days when a property’s full taxable value was stepped in over six years to keep tax increases gradual. Under the old plan, a homeowner who disagreed with how much the state said her property was worth could take her time appealing. She may have to pay her property taxes for the first year if she didn’t act quickly, but she could challenge years that remained and maybe get her taxes lowered for several years.

The new tax rules passed by state lawmakers in April scrapped the six-year plan for one that sets new property values every two years, which is intended to make property taxes simpler because the two-year valuation doesn’t go up.

But a two-year evaluation doesn’t leave much time for appeal. The Department of Revenue told The Gazette that a property owner who disagrees with the value the state has put on their property would have to start the appeals process by the end of July in order to get their taxes reset for 2015.

The state allows taxpayers to request an informal review of new values within 30 days of receiving an assessment notice from Department of Revenue. It’s the assessment notices that will be going out as early as Thursday for some people, but by Monday, June 29, for most.

For most taxpayers, the informal appeal, known as the form AB 26 program, is worthwhile, said Mary Ann Dunwell, DOR spokeswoman

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