Deschutes County, located in Oregon, is known for its natural beauty and has become a desirable area to live in. However, for property owners in the county, the fluctuating property values and confusing property tax system can present challenges. In this article, we will explore the complexities of the property tax system in Deschutes County and explain how Measure 50, a law passed in 1997, affects property taxes. We will also introduce a useful tool provided by the Deschutes County Assessor’s office that allows property owners to review their own tax situation in a visual and comprehensive way.
Measure 50 and Maximum Assessed Value
Measure 50 was implemented in 1997 with the aim of limiting property taxes in Oregon. Under this law, the maximum assessed value of a property is determined by taking the real market value of the property in 1995 and subtracting 10 percent. For example, if the real market value of a property was $140,000 in 1997, the maximum assessed value for that property would be set at $126,000. Over the next 10 years, while the real market value of the property may have increased, Measure 50 ensured that the maximum assessed value could only increase by 3 percent annually.
Fluctuating Property Values and Tax Bills
The real estate market experienced significant fluctuations, particularly in the years following the housing bubble burst. Despite the decrease in property values, the maximum assessed value continued to increase by 3 percent annually as mandated by Measure 50. As a result, property owners saw their tax bills continue to rise, even though the market value of their properties was declining.
To illustrate this situation, let’s consider the example of three properties in a typical subdivision in Bend. Property 1 was built and assessed before the peak of the housing market, and its real market value took a significant hit. However, since Measure 50 limits the increase in assessed value to 3 percent, this property only saw a minor increase in its tax bill.
Property 2, built and assessed in 2009, experienced a less significant drop in real market value compared to Property 1. As a result, its assessed value became the same as the real market value, leading to a 9 percent decrease in property taxes.
Property 3, completed as the market bottomed out, has a different scenario. Since this property is being assessed for the first time, there is no previous value to compare it to. As the real estate market recovers and real market values rise, the assessed value will continue to be the lower of the real market value or the maximum assessed value. If the market increases by more than 3 percent in one year and the assessed value matches the real market value, the assessed value can increase by any percentage until it reaches the maximum assessed value.
Using the Deschutes County Assessor’s Website
To fully understand your own property tax situation, the Deschutes County Assessor’s office provides a helpful tool on their website called “GraphIt.” By visiting deschutes.org/graphit, property owners can look up their own property and access a personalized graph showing their real market value, maximum assessed value, and other useful information about their property. This tool can assist property owners in determining whether they might see an increase or decrease in their property tax bill. It is a valuable resource for staying informed about your property’s assessed value.
If internet access is not available, property owners can visit the county offices and receive assistance from the staff. Although they may not be as helpful as the property tax ferry mentioned in the video, they can guide you through the process and help you understand your property tax situation.
In conclusion, if you own property in Deschutes County, it is important to understand how Measure 50 and the fluctuating real estate market can impact your property tax bill. By utilizing the GraphIt tool provided by the Deschutes County Assessor’s office, property owners can stay informed about their assessed value and better understand any changes in their property tax bill. Ensure you are not caught off guard and take advantage of this valuable resource. Remember, deschutes.org/graphit is the place to go to “graph” your own property tax situation.