Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Property tax bills for the 2012-13 fiscal year will arrive in mailboxes in the next few days.  The tax bill that you will be receiving will show market values in most areas have decreased, but this may not translate into lower taxes. The primary reason can be found in the provisions of Ballot Measure 50, the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1997.

Under Measure 50, your assessed property value cannot increase by more than 3 percent annually unless you have made significant improvements to the property. In addition, your assessed value cannot be higher than your real market value.

The real market value (RMV) on your tax statement represents the market value of the property as of Jan. 1, 2012, based on 2011 sales. It is important to understand that your property taxes are based on your assessed value (AV), not market value. In most cases, assessed values are still significantly lower than market values. A decline in the market value does not automatically reduce your Measure 50 assessed value unless your real market value falls below your maximum assessed value (MAV). See the following example:

LAST YEAR'S VALUES

THIS YEAR'S VALUES

RMV

212,180

190,520

MAV

135,800

139,874

AV

135,800

*139,874

*Reflects 3% increase

Another factor that may explain an increase in your property taxes are voter-approved levies or bonds.

Within Clatsop County, tax rates on individual statements vary because property taxes support 60 local government-taxing districts, most of which have different boundaries. These districts include schools, cities, local fire, water and sewer districts, rural law enforcement, road districts and other special assessment districts.

Tax payments for 2012 are due on or before Thursday, Nov. 15. For your convenience, taxes can be paid at any one of the following ways:

·   By mail in the envelope included with your tax statement.

·   Clatsop County Assessment and Taxation Office, 820 Exchange St., Suite 210, Astoria. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

·   Any local branch of Bank of Astoria, Clatsop Community Bank or Wauna Federal Credit Union.

·   Online – go to "Pay Taxes Online" at www.co.clatsop.or.us for more information.

If you disagree with the value of your property as printed on your tax bill or a penalty assessed for late filing, you can file an appeal with the Clatsop County Board of Property Tax Appeals. Forms are available from the Clerk and Elections Department, 820 Exchange St. in Astoria and the Clatsop County website www.co.clatsop.or.us. Petitions must be filed by December 31, 2012.

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