Assessing Real Property Value:

Appealing the value of your property:

Q. How are my tax dollars distributed once the County collects it?

Your taxes dollars go to various entities once the Utah County Treasurer collects them from you. View the pie chart to see the distribution of your taxes and who gets what percentage.

Q. How is my property valued?

State law requires that County Assessors value all taxable property at market value. This is 100% of its true and fair market value in terms of money. This is done according to the highest and best use of the property. All real and personal property is subject to tax unless exempted by statute. Recent sales of comparable property are used to help set the value. However, primary residential properties are only taxed at 55% of the market value.

To find the value of any piece of property the assessor must first know what properties similar to it are selling for, what it would cost today to replace it, how much it takes to operate and keep it in repair, what rent it may earn, and many other dollar facts affecting its value, such as the current rate of interest charges for borrowing the money to buy or build properties like yours. Using these facts, the assessor can then go about finding the property's value in three different ways.

  • Sales Comparison Approach :

    The first method compares your property to others that have sold recently. These prices, however, must be analyzed very carefully to get the true picture. One property may have sold for more than it was really worth because the buyer was in a hurry and would pay any price. Another may have sold for less money than it was actually worth because the owner needed cash right away. Whether the property was sold to the first person who made an offer.

    When using the sales comparison approach, the assessor must always consider such overpricing or under pricing and analyze many sales to arrive at a fair valuation of your property. Size, quality, condition, location, and time of sale are also important factors to consider.

  • Cost Approach :

    A second way to value your property is based on how much money it would take, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property with one similar. If your property is not new, the assessor must estimate how much a lot like yours would be worth if vacant.

  • Income Approach :

    The third way is to evaluate how much income your property would produce if it were rented as an apartment house, a store, or a factory. The assessor must consider operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and the return most people would expect on your kind of property.

Q. Why my assessed value may change from year to year.

When market value changes, naturally so does assessed value. For instance, if you were to add a garage to your home, the assessed value would increase. However, if your property is in poor repair, the assessed value would decrease.

For clarification purposes: The assessor does not create the value. "People make value" by their transactions in the market place. The assessor simply has the legal responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.

Q. How often does the County appraise my property?

State law requires that all properties be physically inspected every five (5) years and adjusted to market value every year.

Q. Why do property taxes vary throughout the County?

There are several different taxing entities in the State of Utah. Cities, counties, fire districts, water districts, mosquito abatement districts, and schools all have the ability to levy taxes. Each of these entities has different budgeting needs and therefore, levy different taxes.

Q. Do I have to let the County appraiser come into my house or onto my property?

No. You do not have to let the appraiser into your home. However, it is probably in your best interest to allow the appraiser to inspect the interior of your home. This will ensure that extra rooms or bathrooms are not included in your assessment. If access is refused, the appraiser must estimate the value of the property using whatever information he or she has available.

Q. What is market value?

The amount of money that a willing and not obligated buyer is willing to pay a willing and not obligated seller. This type of sale between not obligated buyers is also called an arms length transaction.

Q. If the house next door sells to an out-of-state buyer for much more than it is worth, will it affect my taxes?

No, a single property sale does not establish the market value for surrounding properties. A sales ratio study of all the sales in the county is used as an aid to determine market value.

Q. How do I appeal the market value of my property?

Valuation notices are mailed out to property owners approximately the second week of July. If you do not receive yours, please call the Utah County Auditor's Office at (801) 851-8227. The notice contains the information for the tax payer to call and make an appointment with the County Board of Equalization. This call needs to be made within 30 days to insure the preservation of your rights to appeal.

At the Board of Equalization, which is held during the month of August, you will meet in a comfortable, informal setting with a realtor or a real estate appraiser from the private sector. This person has been hired by the county to impartially judge the value of your property.

You need to bring some sort of evidence (an appraisal-- a closing statement-- records of comparable houses, in comparable areas that sold for a comparable price-- etc.) 1) to demonstrate that the value placed by the assessor on your property is wrong, 2) to show what the value should be. You need to convince the County Board of Equalization that the value that the county has on your property is incorrect!

The County Board of Equalization can only decide 1) whether a property is exempt or 2) if a property is correctly valued. If you feel that your property would sell for the amount stated by the assessor, but you feel that your taxes are too high, you should discuss your concerns with your legislative representative and with your taxing entities. (Cities, County, School Districts, Water Districts, etc.)

Q. What are my rights and responsibilities?

If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the Assessor's, by all means go to the office and discuss the matter. Staff will be glad to answer your questions about the appraisal and explain how to appeal if you cannot come to an agreement. The Assessor's office relies on the property owner for information. You can help by providing accurate information.