The new year offers Idahoans an opportunity to save money by reducing their property taxes. Applications opened on Jan. 2 for the 2022 Property Tax Reduction Program (a.k.a. “circuit breaker”) and the Homeowner’s Exemption.
The Bannock County Assessor’s Office wants to encourage property owners to apply, and be aware of the new modifications to the programs.
The Idaho legislature made changes to these programs in the 2021 legislative session through House Bill 389. The changes will offer slightly bigger savings to qualifying property owners, but may disqualify some from the circuit breaker program. However, the Assessor’s Office encourages all those who have previously qualified to reapply in 2022.
Most property owners will qualify for the homeowner’s exemption, which may exempt up to 50% of the value of their assessed home value including up to one acre of land from property tax. Those who own and occupy a home as their primary residence may qualify.
HB389 increased the homeowner’s exemption from $100,000 to $125,000. This means that either the first $125,000 of the property’s assessed value or 50% of the assessed value, whichever is less, would be exempt from property taxes.
In 2016, the Idaho legislature passed a bill that would stop indexing the value of the Homeowner’s Exemption and froze the exemption at $100,000. In the highly accelerated housing market Bannock County and Idaho are experiencing, Bannock County Assessor Sheri Davies has seen how the lack of indexing has shifted the property tax burden to residential homeowners.
Homeowners only need to apply for this exemption once, and it will be applied to their property’s taxable value until the home is no longer their primary residence. HB389 removed the April 15 deadline. The Bannock County Assessor’s Office encourages residents to complete their application at the time of closing on their home or as soon as possible.
“Circuit Breaker,” Property Tax Reduction Program
Qualified homeowners can also save up to $1,500 by applying to the Property Tax Reduction Program, also known as the “circuit breaker.” This program is meant to help seniors, people with disabilities, and widowers with their property taxes. The State of Idaho will reimburse counties and cities for the property tax savings of those who qualify for the program.
However, HB389 changed who can qualify for the program in 2022. Now to qualify, a property’s assessed value must be no more than 125% of the median value of homes in the county, regardless of household income.
Previously, qualifications were based on if the property owner fell under 185% of the federal poverty guidelines.
HB389 also increased the income qualification from $28,000 to $31,900. The Bannock County Assessor’s Office estimates this could disqualify 80-100 residents who previously qualified for the circuit breaker program. However, everyone who have previously qualified is encouraged to reapply in 2022.
Those who still qualify will receive slightly larger savings, though. HB389 increased the maximum credit allowed from $1,320 to $1,500.
Bannock County residents can apply online for these programs through bannockcounty.us/assessor/. Applicants can reach out to the Assessor’s Office for questions or help filling out the application by calling 208-236-7260. To request a physical application, you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.