Property Taxes

FY 2021 Property Taxes

The City of Boise takes our role as stewards of taxpayer resources very seriously. We know that property taxes are having a real impact on everyone and we're working to do our part to help ease the burden. For that reason, and given the difficult economic times we face, Mayor McLean is proposing no base increase in property taxes for the next fiscal year.

Read the Press Release

Let's Talk Property Taxes

Increased property taxes are having a real impact on Idahoans. For lower-income or fixed-income residents, this could mean losing their home or not being able to afford housing in their own city. Unfortunately, it feels like you need an accounting degree to understand how property taxes work. We’d like to help. Learn more about property taxes from the options below.

Are we using too much jargon? Check out our glossary.

Still have questions? Email us at budget@cityofboise.org. Our knowledgeable team is always happy to assist you.

What’s on my property tax bill?

Every property owner in Ada County gets a tax bill like the example below. But what does it all mean?

Example of Ada County Property Tax Bill
Ada County Property Tax Bill Example

 Taxing Districts

Your property taxes fund several local government entities called “taxing districts.” Taxing districts vary based on where you live, so your bill might look a bit different. For example, some areas in Boise pay taxes to a cemetery district.

Taxing districts are legally allowed to increase taxes by up to 3% each year plus growth for new construction and annexation.1

If they seek property taxes above that amount, districts must get voter approval for a bond or special levy.

The three largest taxing districts in Boise are Boise City, Boise School District and Ada County.

Taxes collected by district from example bill.

 Taxable Value

The value of your property is assessed each year by the Ada County Assessor’s Office. If you own your home, and live in it as your primary residence, you might be eligible for a homeowners exemption which exempts you from paying taxes on 50% of the value of your home up to $100,000.2

For tax purposes, what really matters is your taxable value:

 Levy Rate

A levy rate of .014 (rounded to three decimals) means you owe $14 of taxes for every $1,000 of your property’s taxable value. Levy rates for 2019 in Boise were at their lowest levels in at least 10 years.

This is how your levy rate is determined:

Total Property Tax Budget of All Taxing Districts* / Total Taxable Property Value = Levy Rate
*This can only increase each year by up to 3% plus growth

 What You Owe

Once you know your taxable value and levy rate, it’s easy to calculate how much tax you owe:

Taxable Value x Levy Rate = What You Owe.  Example: $280,000 (taxable value) x .013568784 (levy rate) = $2,442 (what you owe)

1 Visit to learn more about how property taxes help fund a growing community.

2 The State of Idaho capped the homeowners’ exemption at $100,000 in 2016. If it hadn’t been capped, the State Tax Commission reports the maximum exemption would have been $121,950 in 2019 and would increase further to $135,850 in 2020.

What do my property taxes pay for?

A representation of how City of Boise taxes are used.

Property taxes fund vital community services like public safety, schools, roads, and parks.

The City of Boise takes our role as stewards of the taxpayer very seriously. For every tax dollar we spent in Fiscal Year 2019, 76 cents funded Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation, and the Library.

You might notice that some city services aren’t funded by your tax dollars, like the Boise Airport and solid waste management (recycling, composting and trash). That’s because fees - like your trash bill - pay for those services.

Is everybody’s property tax bill increasing?

In a word, no. Property taxes actually decreased for more than half of commercial properties (like offices and retail space), but only 1 in 10 residential properties (like houses, duplexes and triplexes) from 2017-18.

Property taxes increased for half of commercial properties and 9 out of 10 residential properties (2017 to 2018).

In fact, the typical residential property’s taxes increased about 9%, while the typical commercial property’s taxes decreased slightly (less than 1%).1

Share of Property Taxes Paid

Why are residential property taxes more likely to increase?

While values are generally increasing for all property types, residential is growing more quickly than commercial. As a result, residential property owners are paying a rising share of all property taxes. That’s how a commercial property’s value can increase from one year to the next while its tax bill goes down.

1 Changes in property taxes for Boise properties from 2017 to 2018. Typical, in this case, is defined as the property in each type with the median percent growth in taxes.

How do property taxes support a growing community?

We believe that growth should pay for itself, and property taxes help make that happen.

Properties Fund Services
Tinytown Example

Imagine a community named Tinytown, with only five properties.

Tinytown’s local government uses taxes on those properties to pay for public services like police, fire response, schools, roads and parks.

New Properties Fund New Services
Tinytown doubles in size

Now imagine that Tinytown doubles in size over time. Local government would need to increase services to meet the needs of the growing community.

But how should Tinytown pay for those additional services? In Idaho, local governments can increase the total amount of property taxes they collect to account for “new construction and annexation,” ensuring owners of new properties pay their fair share. 1

However, the State of Idaho has considered legislation that would stop local governments from collecting property taxes for new construction. If that happens, Tinytown would not be able to fund services its community needs.

1 Impact fees also help growth pay for itself. New development is typically charged an impact fee to fund the construction of public facilities like parks and fire stations. However, impact fees cannot be used to pay for the staffing those facilities require, like firefighters and parks maintenance crews. That’s where property taxes come in.

Property Tax Overview

Increased property taxes are having a real impact on all Idahoans

For lower income or fixed income residents, that pain has become critical, resulting in the possibility of many losing their home or, at worst, not being able to afford any housing in their own city.

We know that our city’s budget plays a role, which is why we have worked hard to tighten our budgets and increase discipline for the Fiscal Year 2021 budget (0% base growth), and will do the same for future budgets.

Local government's role in property taxes

Under Idaho Law, local governments and taxing districts can increase their property tax collections from one year to the next in two ways:

  1. The revenues from new payers associated with new construction and annexation help support on-going growth-related expenses, such as maintenance expenses for new parks and public safety.
  2. The optional base increase (up to 3%) helps cities keep up with annual cost increases and maintain service levels.

The City of Boise is committed to doing our part in balancing the amount of property tax revenue we collect and the services we provide.

Glossary

Assessed Value: The value of a property as determined by the County Assessor. This is also known as “appraised value.”

Homeowners exemption: Exempts a property owner from paying taxes on 50% of the value of their property up to $100,000. To qualify, you must own their home and live in at as your primary residence.

Levy rate: The rate at which a property is taxed. For example, a levy rate of .014 means you owe $14 of taxes for every $1,000 of your property’s taxable value.

Taxable value: The Assessed Value of a property minus any exemptions, like the Homeowners Exemption. You only pay property taxes on your taxable value.

Taxing district: A local government entity, such as a city, county or school district that use property taxes to fund part or all of its services.

For more definitions, visit the Ada County Appraisal Glossary Learn More

Property Tax Analysis 2020

The city has partnered with the Idaho Policy Institute (IPI) to conduct a third-party analysis to better understand the significance of property taxes as a revenue source for the city and address two research questions:

  1. What are the drivers of property tax growth in Boise?
  2. What policy decisions can impact commercial and residential tax burden?

Download the Report

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