The process of determining property tax bills continues to become more complicated.
Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh confirmed to The Brazil Times recently the county has received the 2008 pay 09 tax rates for each of the 20 districts, but still have work to do before bills can be calculated.
"We are still in the process of updating the TIF districts in order for us to prepare the abstract," she said. "Also, we are waiting on a software update to be installed so we can correctly calculate the credits and deductions."
Alumbaugh added she anticipates being able to complete the abstract by the end of this week, and Clay County Treasurer Debbie James said the county should be able to start computing bills by the end of next week.
"It is definitely a complicated process this year," James said. "However, everything should come to a head this week for us to be able to determine a due date for the first installment."
Other than having to recalculate the bills because of the 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 percent property tax caps in effect this year, Alumbaugh said the numbers also have to be refigured for the Homestead Credit and Supplemental Homestead Deduction.
"This year, the Homestead credit is 8.5005 percent of the net residential tax amount," she said. "Also new is the Supplemental Deduction which is an additional 35 percent for home with an assessed value of less than 600,000, and 25 percent for homesteads beyond that threshold."
However, depending on the number of acres an individual owns, determining those figures may have to be done through two separate processes.
For example, if a property with one acre of land has a gross assessed value of $100,000, and the owner has applied for the Standard Homestead Deduction, the net value would be reduced by the maximum of $45,000, down to $55,000. The owner would also receive the 35 percent Supplemental Deduction on that amount, which is only given to those who are already receiving the Standard Homestead Deduction, leaving a net assessed value of $35,750. Should the property be in Lewis Township, which has the lowest rate this year at 1.4045 dollars per $100 of assessed value, the total gross tax for the year would be approximately $502 dollars. Brazil City -- Brazil Township has the highest rate this year at 2.8062.
To figure the Homestead Credit in this situation, multiply the $502 by the 8.5005 percent rate creates a credit of approximately $42.67. This amount is then subtracted by the gross tax amount of $502, which would leave a total of $459.33 worth of property taxes to be paid for the year, which is much lower than the $1,500 tax cap this particular property would have this year.
"Needless to say, it will take a little bit of time to get the bills figured up to be sent out," Alumbaugh said. "However, we still plan to have the first installment by the end of June."
Alumbaugh added the Standard Homestead Deduction applies only on a residence, along with a garage (attached or not), and only one acre of land. Any other additional land or improvements, such as a barn, are not taken into consideration when determining the deductions.
"Basically, if your property has a total assessment of $100,000 with five acres and a barn, but the homestead portion is assessed at $80,000 for the home, garage and one acre, the deductions and Homestead Credit will be figured off of the $80,000 residential assessment," she said. "The total deductions and credits determined from the residential assessment would then be used to figure the total net tax for the property as a whole."
In all of Clay County's 20 taxing districts, rates are significantly down from last year, and are also less than they were for the 2006 pay 07 property tax year.
"The tax rates are down quite a bit, but there is no longer the Property Tax Replacement Credit, so there is the chance that if a property's assessment remained the same this year, the property taxes may go up," James said. "However, I'm not sure the circuit breaker will play much of a role here this year, but the county will still be taking a hit on property tax revenue."
James added there will be an additional bank in the area which will be accepting property tax payments as well.
"Last year, First Financial Bank accepted payments to alleviate the congestion in the Treasurer's Office, and it was very effective," she said. "Along with their four locations, the Terre Haute Savings Bank's Brazil location will also be accepting payments on property taxes."
For those who cannot wait for their tax bills to see what they will have to pay, the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), in partnership with the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University, recently released property tax estimator online.
The tool allows taxpayers to enter their assessed value, taxing district and potential deductions to see the estimated amount of their tax bill for 2009. However, the estimates provided by the tool are projections only and are not to be considered a statement of true tax liability.
The following graphic compares the Certified Gross Property Tax rates for each taxing districts in Clay County for 2007, 2008 and 2009:
|District||2007 rate||2008 rate||2009 rate|
|Brazil City - Brazil Township||2.9327||3.1198||2.8062|
|Dick Johnson Township||2.0085||2.0987||1.5857|
|Clay City Town||2.6960||2.8637||2.4843|
|Brazil City - Jackson Township||2.8957||3.0801||2.7578|
|Brazil City - Posey Township||2.8980||3.0980||2.7810|
|Sugar Ridge Township||1.9708||2.0629||1.5359|
|Center Point Township||2.1113||2.2111||1.7515|
|Van Buren Township||2.0116||2.1078||1.5897|
Note: All rates represent the dollar amount per $100 of assessed property value.