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Understanding Your Property Taxes

What is property assessment?

Property assessment is the process used to assign a value to all property in the Northwest.  Consistent guidelines and techniques allow property assessors to ensure that similar kinds of property are assessed the same way and that assessed values for each property are fair and equitable.

Only land and improvements are assessed. Improvements include buildings, mobile units, pipelines, works and transmission lines.  Personal property such as jewelry, cars, televisions and other personal possessions are not assessed.

What is property taxation?

A system of taxation that requires lessees, owners or occupiers of land and buildings to pay an amount of money based on the value of their land and buildings.  Everyone who owns or occupies property, including individuals, businesses and industry pays property tax.


Why do we have to pay property tax?

Like most other taxes, property tax is imposed by government to generate money for a public purpose, and it is compulsory and enforceable by law.  The money raised from the property taxes you pay are critical to funding local programs and services, such as:

  • Police and fire protection

  • Emergency rescue services

  • Road construction and maintenance

  • Garbage services

  • Recreation and community centers

  • Parks

  • Libraries

  • Schools 

  • Hospitals

Property assessment, services, tax notice and payment infographic

When a community starts a new service, they are responsible for the costs. In some cases, the cost for the new service may be shared with other nearby communities. A recreation facility is a good example of when the cost to provide a new service may be shared.

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