Posted 12/15/15 (Tue)
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
The majority of McKenzie County residents and commercial businesses will not see much of a change in their county taxes this year.
“The Yellowstone School District is the only taxing entity whose mill levies went up enough to potentially increase taxes if valuations also encreased,” said Linda Svihovec, McKenzie County auditor.
“The majority of people, unless their property was re-assessed and there’s been a significant increase in their valuation, should see very little or no increase in their taxes,” states Svihovec. “And in some cases, they may see their taxes slightly lower.”
According to Svihovec, most residential properties stayed about the same this year.
“If your property value essentially stayed the same, for most county properties, your taxes should stay the same, if not be a little bit lower. So if your property value went up, you may see a slight increase in taxes.”
For example, for a home with a valuation of $299,940 in 2014 with a mill levy rate of .199, county taxes were $2,364. In 2015, that same residential property’s re-assessed value went up to $306,740. But because the mill levy went down a little to .185, the taxes on that home also went down slightly to $2,259.
According to Svihovec, utility valuations went up significantly this year and are now more than 50 percent of the county’s total taxable valuation.
“I was pleased to see that the utility valuations had increased significantly,” Svihovec stated. “And they are now more than 50 percent of the county’s total taxable valuation. So that means there’s more property to help pay for the services the city and county has taken on, as well as the construction of new schools in our county.”
According to Svihovec and Brad Solberg, McKenzie County Deputy treasurer, county tax statements were processed and sent out to McKenzie County residents by Friday, Dec. 11, which is actually earlier than statements were sent out last year.
Solberg said taxpayers have two options to pay their taxes this year. If taxpayers pay their taxes by Feb. 16, they will receive a five percent discount on their total. If taxpayers can’t pay by Feb. 16, they have a second option - to pay in two installments. The first installment would be due by March 1, and the second installment would be due by Oct. 17. If taxpayers choose the installment option, they won’t be eligible for any discount.
“The tax statements will show each taxpayer a three-year comparison,” stated Svihovec. “It will also show them a breakdown per taxing district, and if someone does have an increase in their taxes, they’ll be able to see where and why there was an increase.”
Solberg said the Treasurer’s Office will be accepting credit card payments for the first time, with a 2½ percent convenience fee. Taxpayers can also pay online or send payment in via mail.
“Taxpayers can also view their 2015 property tax statements online by going to ndpropertytax.com,” said Solberg. “Taxpayers can view their statements, and if they want, they can even print off their statement or review neighboring properties to see how their taxes and valuation compare.”
“We would also like to remind taxpayers with escrows that their tax statements have been sent out to the escrow companies,” stated Svihovec. “We still sent out a copy of their tax statement to those individuals, but their statement will say ‘copy’ on it, so they should be conscious of this because a copy was also sent to their escrow company as well. Individuals should know that those taxes will be paid by their mortgage company, so they don’t need to pay that again. A lot of people tend to be confused by that and end up double paying and we have to issue a refund to them.”
Of course it is still the homeowner’s responsibility to contact their mortgage or escrow company directory for any concerns or questions, says Svihovec.
If McKenzie County residents have questions regarding their taxes or the tax statement, they are welcome to visit the McKenzie County website at www.mckenziecounty.net or they can call the county treasurer’s office at 701-444-3616, ext. 3.