Missoula County taxpayers just wrapped up paying the second half of their property tax bills, but Tyler Gernant, the County Clerk and Treasurer has some timely advice as property owners prepare for the next round.

“The reappraisal cycle happens every two years, and last year was a reappraisal year, so this year is not a reappraisal year,” said Gernant. For those who thought their property taxes were too high, Gernant explains what can be done now. “If they have not dome anything as of yet, the only thing they can do is pay their property taxes under protest and then file a lawsuit claiming their value was not correct.”

Gernant explains how property is valued by government for tax purposes.

“Generally speaking, if you’re looking at a residence, they look at a comparative market analysis and the Department of Revenue is the agency that assesses value,” he said. “For businesses there’s a couple of different ways, they can use that same market analysis, or they look at the income that business could produce and they will value the property based on that. For the businesses that experienced a large increase, I believe those were assessed based on desirability factor, and so some of those got hit pretty hard and most often it was the land value that went up, not necessarily the building value.”

One point Gernant emphasized for all property taxpayers, was never pay your taxes late.

“By statute we charge a two percent penalty if you’re late, which means if you don’t pay by the due date then there’s a 10 percent interest component, and we end up charging it by the day. Northwestern Energy paid their taxes on day late this year and paid a hefty penalty.”

Gernant said his office is happy to sit down with taxpayers and go through their property taxes line by line to understand where all the funds are being distributed.

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