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Changes to homeowners' exemption possible solution to rising property taxes

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Posted at 3:20 AM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 12:07:35-04

IDAHO — With property assessments mailed and local taxing districts working to set their budgets, conversations about how to lower property taxes are prominent right now. In these conversations, the homeowner's exemption and changes are coming up as possible solutions that could bring relief.

This is a program any homeowner can apply for on their primary residence. Currently, this would reduce the taxable value of your home up to $125,000 or 50%. This means for any home worth more than $250,000, the homeowner is getting less than half of the value exempt from property taxes under this program.

"I would venture to say there aren't many that are worth $250,000 or less at this time," said realtor Carissa Cleveland.

There wasn't always a cap on the homeowners' exemption. Back in 2016, the legislature passed a law establishing a $100,000 limit. This was increased to $125,000 last year.

"It is 23% of the median value, so the value of the homestead exemption has really eroded since 2017," said Ada County Assessor Robert McQuade.

This is why McQuade is in favor of increasing the homestead exemption.

With the legislature not in session again until January, even if most lawmakers were in favor of this solution, it wouldn't help you with your property taxes this year. But there are steps you can take to try to ensure lower property taxes.

If property assessment seems higher than it should be, homeowners can start the appeal process by calling the appraiser listed on the assessment.

Property owners can also share input on the budget-setting process for local taxing districts like Ada County.

They're accepting public testimony this Thursday from 5-6 p.m. at the Ada County Courthouse.

The State Legislature did pass legislation aimed at reducing property taxes this year, including changes to the property tax reduction program also known as the circuit breaker program.

This comes after the legislature changed the qualifications to include those with an income less than $32,230 who are:

  • 65 years or older
  • Disabled
  • A widow
  • Those with an assessed home value of up to $300,000 or 150% of the median assessed home value.