Tax Time, Part 2 | Urban Living

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Tax Time, Part 2

Posted By on September 7, 2022, 4:00 AM

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In mid-summer, the county tax assessor mails out property tax notices to all those who own land, homes, commercial buildings, condos, etc. The notice shows what the property taxes were for the prior year and what the assessor intends to charge for the coming year.

In Salt Lake County, the average home value rose 28.7% over 2021.

The assessor didn't raise my taxes by that amount, but it looks like I'm getting an increase of about 20% over the previous year. And yet, the taxable value of my home is well below what it would likely sell for if we put it on the market today. So, we're winning the property tax game—for now.

Folks are calling me asking for comparable sales data from January of last year to show the assessor how little their property is worth in order to stave off paying a major bump in property taxes.

Anyone can protest their property taxes, but do they have a chance battling the big bad gubmint? Actually, yes.

I called a friend who used to work for the assessor. They shared that you might be able to shave a bit off the proposed tax valuation, but you must complete an application before Sept. 15 and include a current appraisal or comparable sales data.

You can simply mail it in—there's a form/envelope included with the notice—or you can go in person to plead your case. If you lose your protest, you can appeal to the Utah State Tax Commission for a hearing, or argue your way all the way to the Utah Supreme Court.

Many people can't pay their property taxes in one lump sum. You can talk to the assessor's office in your county to find out options for payments.

They can't take away your property until you have been delinquent for four years.

At that point, the county can sell your property through a public auction to pay off your tax bill. And, at auction, the winning bid must equal at least the amount of the overdue taxes, penalties, interests and administrative costs.

If the county accepts the sale terms, the winning bidder gets a tax deed as long as they pay the terms of the winning bid within a few days.

Property owners can then file a claim to receive any surplus amount paid to the county in excess of the property taxes plus interest.

Where do most of the taxes go, once paid? Public schools and city services take up the bulk of your property tax money.

If you are having trouble paying your taxes, there are several programs that can help if you are 65 or older, are receiving disability benefits, have income/assets less than $35,807, are blind or the unmarried spouse or minor of a deceased blind person, a veteran with a service-connected disability or on active duty outside of Utah.

For more information, go to

About The Author

Babs De Lay

Babs De Lay

A full-time broker/owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates, Babs De Lay serves on the Salt Lake City Historic Landmark Commission. A writer and golfer, you'll find them working as a staff guardian at the Temple at Burning Man each year.

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