Property Taxes

Understanding Your Property Tax Assessment

Ada County residents will begin receiving their 2019 property tax assessments the week of May 27. Below are several graphs to help explain how Boise’s property taxes are used. Specifically:

  • How property tax dollars are dispersed among the various agencies within the city.
  • How the City of Boise portion is distributed among departments.
  • The distribution of taxes paid by residential homeowners versus other property owners.
  • How the City of Boise’s property taxes compare to other Idaho cities.
Pie chart that shows: 43.5% to Boise City; 30.7% to School District No 1; 18.1% to Ada County; 5.7% to Ada County Highway District; 0.9% to Emergency Medical; 0.9% to College of Western Idaho; 0.2% to Mosquito Abatement
Percent of Your Tax Dollars and Where they Go

Percent of Your Tax Dollars and Where they Go

Property taxes fund various agencies and districts within Ada County. The graph demonstrates the percentage of the total amount each agency/district will receive in 2019.

Pie chart that shows - Police: 31.9; Fire: 24.5; Parks and Recreation: 13.1; Library: 6.4; Contractual Services: 5.5; Information Technology: 4.0; Public Works: 3.4; DFA: 2.7; Legal: 2.7; PDS: 1.6; Arts and History: 1.1; HR: 1.1; Mayor's Office: 1.1; Community Engagement: 0.6
Distribution of Tax Dollars within the City of Boise

How Tax Dollars are Dispersed within the City of Boise

The City of Boise receives about 43.5% of the property tax dollars. The graph shows how each tax dollar is distributed within the city.

Bar chart that shows 2017 - 2019(est) distribution. 2017: 61% residential and 39% commercial. 2018: 63% residential and 37% commercial. 2019 (estimated): 65% residential and 35% commercial
Boise Property Tax Burden: Residential vs. Commercial

Distribution of Taxes Paid by Residential Homeowners vs. Commercial

The amount of property tax paid by homeowners overall is dependent on the relative value of residential property compared to commercial property. When residential property rises at a faster rate than commercial property, individual homeowners pay more, and commercial property owners pay less.

Additionally, as the impact of the homeowner’s exemption is reduced over time due to the $100,000 cap instituted by the State, as well as rapid increases in residential assessed value, residential property owners shoulder more and more of the overall tax burden.

The graph shows the distribution of taxes paid by residential homeowners versus commercial property owners over the past three years.

Bar chart that shows the average Boise resident's total tax rate against other Idaho cities.
Tax Amount per $1,000 of Taxable Property Value

Levy Rate Comparison

The levy rate includes multiple taxing districts and is used to calculate the amount of taxes a property owner is responsible for. The graph compares the average Boise resident’s total tax rate against other Idaho cities.

Frequently Asked Questions about Property Taxes

Property taxes help pay for services and amenities for all Boiseans. These functions include public safety such as police and fire services, open space management and libraries. The County Treasurer and Tax Collector collects all property taxes for cities, school districts and specialist districts within the county.

For more information on property taxes, please review the frequently asked questions below.

  1. Where do I pay my property tax?
    The County Treasurer and Tax Collector collects all property taxes for cities, school districts and specialist districts within the county. Their office is located in the Ada County Building at 200 West Front Street, Boise.

  2. Where do my property taxes go?
    Property taxes help pay for services and amenities for all Boiseans. These functions include public safety such as police and fire services, open space management and libraries.

  3. Why are there so many agencies listed on my property tax bill?
    Property tax is the primary source of funding for local government in Idaho. Taxpayers in Boise fund schools, the City, the County, Ada County Highway District, the Ada County Paramedics and a few small special districts.

  4. What is the 3% property tax cap?
    Under Idaho Law, local governments are limited to no more than a 3% increase in base property taxes each year, plus an increase for the amount of growth that has occurred through new construction or annexation. 

    The 3% property tax cap is calculated based on the local government's total property tax received in the prior year. That means that local governments will receive no more than 3% more total property taxes than in the prior year, excluding new growth.

  5. Why does the City of Boise opt to take the 3% property tax increase each year?
    The cost of operating city government continues to rise at rates higher than the 3% annual rate allowed under state law. The Municipal Cost Index (MCI), developed by American City & County, typically shows that the cost of municipal government rises by 3% or more. These increased costs are primarily due to personnel (compensation and health care), as well as various non-personnel items such as fuel, supplies, and utilities that cities incur.

  6. My home’s assessment went way up. Does that mean my property taxes are going way up also? 
    Not necessarily. The amount you pay is based on the value of your house relative to the value of all other properties in the district. If your assessed home value rises by 10%, but every other property in the city rises by 20%, your property tax bill could decrease.

  7. What role do commercial properties play in property taxes?
    In recent years, assessed values for commercial property haven’t been rising as quickly as residential property values. This results in residential properties assuming a larger share of the total property tax value for the city – and therefore a larger portion of the total bill. The relationship between commercial and residential values plays a far greater role in affecting your property tax bill than does the annual 3% increase imposed by local governments.

  8. What is the levy rate? 
    Each year, all local governments calculate the amount of revenue that they are legally able to collect (100% of the previous year’s property tax revenues, plus the optional 3%). The jurisdiction then divides that total by the total taxable property tax value set by the County Assessor. The result is the levy rate for that year. Each individual property is then taxed based on the value of their property multiplied by the levy rate.

  9. What is a Homeowner’s Exemption Cap?
    The Idaho State Legislature currently allows for the first $100,000 of the assessed market value, or 50% of the assessed market value, whichever is less, to be exempt from property tax for owner-occupied homes and manufactured homes that are primary dwellings. The exemption applies to a home and up to one acre of land.

  10. What is the City of Boise’s Position on the Homeowner’s Exemption Cap?
    The City of Boise would support an increase in the current property tax homeowner’s exemption.

    In recent years, as residential property values have increased steadily, many residential properties exceed $200,000 in assessed value and are now subject to property taxes on greater than 50% of the assessed value. The City of Boise believes capping the exemption at $100,000 shifts the tax burden from the commercial sector to owner-occupied residential properties. We encourage the Legislature to address Idaho’s growth and increase maximum homeowners’ exemption.
  11. Where can I get answers to questions about property taxes?
    If the question relates to the assessed market value of a property, the County Assessor’s Office can help. If the question relates to the tax rate levied against your house and how it relates to the assessed market valuation, the County Clerk-Auditors office can help. The County Treasurer will respond to questions about your tax bill. If you want to dispute the amount assessed against your property, the County Commissioners, sitting as the Board of Equalization, is the proper venue.

    Many questions relating to Idaho tax laws and their application can be answered by the State Tax Commission.

    If you want to know how the taxes received by the City of Boise are spent, the City Budget Office in the Department of Finance and Administration is the place to start. Its telephone number is (208) 972-8147.

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