Below is a list of our most “Frequently Asked Questions” concerning:
- Property Information (specific questions about parcels, online databases, ordering data)
- Property Tax exemptions and reductions
- Property Tax billing and histories
- Other Departments (Commissioners, Planning and Zoning, Recorder’s documents)
- Motor Vehicles
If none of the information below answers your question, then please e-mail us!
Note: more in-depth answers concerning property appraisal are located in our “Property Appraisal FAQ“.
When are assessment notices mailed?
Your assessment notice must be mailed by the first Monday in June. When you get it, look at it carefully to make sure all the information is accurate.
Is the ownership of property public information? If so, how can you find the information?
The ownership of property is public information, but privacy concerns keep us from posting owner names on the Internet. If you need ownership information on one or two parcels please call our office at 287-7200. If your research is more extensive, please come into our office and help yourself to the information at our public terminals
Property Tax Exemptions and Reductions
Note: click her for more in-depth answers concerning the Homeowner’s Exemption
Who do I contact with questions about property tax reductions and exemptions?
What is a HOMESTEAD exemption? (frequently confused with the Homeowner's/Homestead property tax exemption)
We are frequently asked whether a person must file under the Homestead Act to protect his or her home from creditors or a judgment. According to Idaho Code 55-1001 through 55-1005, a person does not need to file under Idaho Homestead provisions to protect his or her homestead if the home is occupied as a principle residence.
Homestead is defined as “the dwelling house or mobile home in which the owner resides or intends to reside, with appurtenant buildings, and the land on which the same are situated..” The exemption amount shall not exceed the lesser of the total net value of the lands, mobile home and improvements, or $100,000.
If the property meets the definition of homestead, then it is automatically protected. If a person owns unimproved or improved land that is not yet occupied as a homestead, then the owner must file a declaration of homestead, stating that he or she intends to make the premises his or her principle residence and include a legal description and an estimate of the cash value. If a person owns land that is not yet occupied as a homestead, but also owns another parcel on which the owner presently resides, the owner must execute a “declaration of abandonment” (55-1004(4)). This prevents a person from claiming two homesteads at the same time.
Property Tax billing and Histories
Who do I contact with questions about property tax bills, payments or property tax amounts?
How is my property tax bill determined?
The total market value (the lot and house), minus the Homeowner’s Exemption, equals the total taxable value. The levy is multiplied by this amount to calculate your tax bill.
How can taxes go up when property values don't?
Value changes don’t equal tax changes. One of the most common misunderstandings about property tax is that the tax is strictly value-driven and, therefore, that a 10 percent increase in appraised or assessed value would translate into a 10 percent increase in tax. In a budget-driven system, higher values force levy rates downward and partially offset increasing taxes. In this type of system, increases in the total amount of property tax result only from increases in budgets submitted and approved by taxing districts. Unfortunately, a decrease in assessed value does not necessarily mean a tax decrease or adjustment. For most taxing districts, budgets are set in August or early September, so final property tax amounts aren’t certain until then.
How much do taxes usually go up each year?
There is no certain amount by which property taxes increase. The amount of increase or decrease depends on the real estate market. If your taxes increase but the assessed value stays about the same, your tax hike may have several causes: Taxing districts can increase their general property tax revenues by 3% a year plus a growth factor derived from the value of new construction within that district; certain levies and voter-approved overrides are allowed beyond the 3% property tax increase, and new taxing districts may have been added to provide new services.
Are there any limits on property tax increases?
Yes. Most taxing districts have limits on the tax rates they may charge.
Why are my taxes higher than my neighbor's?
You may live within a different combination of taxing districts than your neighbor. Highways are often the dividing lines between taxing districts. School districts are a good example; your child may go to school in one district, while a child across the street attends school in another. Also, your property may appear similar to your neighbor’s at first glance, but you may not be considering factors such as land size, square footage of homes, and type of construction or condition, which can make a big difference in assessed value. When comparing taxes, you should also consider that your neighbor may be eligible for some form of property tax reduction for which you did not qualify or apply.
What is an "occupancy tax"?
If you purchase and move into a newly-constructed home after January 1 (and the home has not been assessed previously), you will be charged a pro-rated occupancy fee instead of property taxes for the remainder of the year. You must notify your The Ada County Assessor’s Office on or before the date you move into your new home.
Is any tax relief available?
Yes. Idaho has a homeowner’s exemption for owner-occupied homes, including mobile homes. Homeowner’s Applications are available on our Documents and Forms page. When an application is approved, the exemption is permanent as long as you own and occupy the property. If the property is sold, the new owner must file a new application. There are no income or age restrictions, but you can qualify for an exemption on only one property. You must apply for the exemption by April 15. You may also qualify for the Circuit breaker tax reduction if you are 65 or older, widow or widower, blind or disabled of any age and meet income and residence requirements. Applications for Circuit breaker benefits must be filed by April 15.
What if I can't afford to pay my taxes?
If you can’t pay your taxes, you may apply to the Ada County Commissioners for a hardship exemption. Your application must be filed by June 20 if you are requesting a hardship exemption from the current year’s taxes. You may request cancelation of taxes by filing an application with the Ada County Commissioners. This cancelation may apply to delinquent or current property taxes.
If you meet the other requirements of the property tax reduction program (Circuit Breaker) and have income of $43,646 or less, you may be eligible for the Idaho Property Tax Deferral program. Through this program, qualified applicants can postpone paying the taxes on their primary Idaho residence and up to one acre of land. The deferred taxes and interest must eventually be repaid to the state of Idaho.
The Idaho State Tax Commission administers the Property Tax Deferral program, but you must apply for this tax deferral through your county assessor’s office by April 15 each year.
When must property taxes be paid?
Payments for real property and most personal property are due in two equal installments, with the first half due December 20 and the second half due the following June 20. However, the full year’s tax must be paid before a mobile home or business personal property can be relocated or sold (please see Idaho Code 63-1014).
Property taxes are paid to the county treasurer. Installment payments are permitted.
What happens if my taxes aren't paid on time?
Taxes are delinquent if not paid by the due date. Delinquent taxes accrue interest and penalty and create a lien against your property. If taxes are still unpaid three years after their due date, all taxes become due and may be seized and sold to satisfy the lien.