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Residential and Commercial Property - Frequently Asked Questions

Residential and Commercial FAQs

Q:How is property assessed?

Idaho law requires that all nonexempt property be assessed at market value each year. By comparing current sales of similar properties, the assessor estimates how much a buyer might reasonably pay for your home if it was for sale. Two similar properties in different areas may end up with very different assessed values after certain factors are weighed, including: general location, distance from schools and shopping, quality of surrounding properties and neighborhood amenities such as parks. The market approach to appraisal, which is described above, is most useful in determining the value of residential properties. Additional methods are used to assess commercial and agricultural properties. Remember: The assessor does not set a value for your property. He or she just estimates what price it would bring if it were on the market.

Q:How often are property values adjusted?

All property must be physically inspected every five years. This means an appraiser from the assessor's office will visit your property at least once in each five-year period. During the other years, the assessor will use information from other properties that have sold to estimate the current market value for your property.

Q:What are "improvements"?

The term "improvements," as used in assessment of property, is commonly misunderstood. It does not refer just to remodeling. renovating or upgrading, although these are considered when your property is assessed. "Improvements" are buildings, fences, paving or other permanent structures that add value to land, regardless of when they were put there. For example, your house or manufactured home is considered an "improvement."

Q:What is the difference between real property and personal property?

Real property consists of land and improvements that are permanently attached to the land. Personal property normally is not attached to the land; it is generally mobile and does not last as long as real property. Office machines are an example of personal property. Personal property, such as household furnishings and clothing, is not assessed or taxed if it is used for personal purposes. If the same property is used in a business, it is subject to property tax unless it is part of resale inventory. Properly registered vehicles, including recreational vehicles, are not subject to property tax. All property is appraised according to its condition on January 1. However, some personal property is assessed on a pro-rated basis for the period it remains in a particular county.

Q:How do I know what the assessed value of my property is?

Our office can provide this information for you.

Q:What can I do if I disagree with the assessed value of my property?

Contact our office, which maintains a file of information on your property. If you question your assessment, you should review this information with an appraiser to ensure its accuracy. If you cannot resolve your disagreement with the Assessor's Office, you may appeal to the Nez Perce County Board of Equalization (BOE), which consists of your elected county commissioners. Your appeal must be filed with the BOE by the fourth Monday in June. Be prepared to document your reasons for requesting a change in your property's assessed value. You must prove that the assessor's value is not the current market value of the property.

Q:How is my property tax bill determined?

The total market value (the lot and house), minus the Homeowner's Exemption, equals the total assessed value. The levy is multiplied by this amount to calculate your tax bill.

Q: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.

Q:How can taxes go up when property values don't?

Tax rates may change from year to year depending on the needs of individual taxing districts. A district may need more money due to inflation, emergencies, indigent care, etc. Voter-approved bonds and override levies also may be responsible for growth in tax rates. If a district's budget increases while the assessed value of all property remains the same, the tax rate will increase and individual property owners will pay higher taxes. If business is bad for local industry or agriculture, a county's economy can suffer and affected property values may go down. However. Your taxes may be higher since taxing districts still need to pay for basic services. The share of local taxes paid by those properties with declining values will be smaller.

Q: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. Certain levies and voter-approved overrides are allowed beyond the 3% property tax increase, and new taxing districts may need new revenue to provide new services.

Q:Are there any limits on property tax increases?

Yes. Most taxing districts have limits on the tax rates they may charge.

Q: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, 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.

Q:What is an "occupancy fee"?

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 an occupancy fee instead of property taxes for the remainder of the year.You must notify your The Nez Perce County Assessor's Office on or before the date you move into your new home.

Q:Is any tax relief available?

Yes. Idaho has a homeowner's exemption for owner-occupied homes, including mobile homes. This exempts 50% or $125,000 whichever is less, of your land and home's assessed value; taxes are computed on the remaining value. Homeowner's Applications are available at the Assessor's Office. 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 December 31.You may also qualify for the Property 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 Property Tax Reduction benefits must be filed by April 15.

Q:What if I can't afford to pay my taxes?

If you can't pay your taxes, you may apply to the Nez Perce 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 cancellation of taxes by filing an application with the Nez Perce County Commissioners. This cancellation may apply to delinquent or current property taxes.

Q: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.

Q: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.


Dan Anderson

Dan Anderson

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Office Location
1230 Main Street
Lewiston, ID 83501

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 896
Lewiston, ID 83501


Contact Us

Assessor's Office
: 208-799-3010
Fax: 208-799-3037
Office Hours
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Auto Vehicle License
: 208-799-3026
Fax: 208-799-3168
Office Hours
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM


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