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Portland Real Estate Property Taxes

If you own property in Multnomah County you’ve probably got mail today: your property tax bill.  The bill includes the 2010-2011 Property Tax Statement Guide.  The bills come in two colors: green and yellow.  Ultimately you are responsible that the taxes get paid regardless of color but “a yellow statement means a mortgage company or  the Department of Revenue has requested the bill of payment.  A green statement means you have taxes to pay.”  If you added or removed an impound account during a refinance this year the statement color of the statement could be wrong.  What is an impound account?  With a Principle, Interest, Taxes & Insurance (PITI) mortgage payment it is the account that the bank keeps the taxes and Insurance portion until a tax or insurance bill is due.  They then pay the statement so that they know it has been paid.  If you have to write a check, doing so (and having it postmarked) by November 15th gets you the maximum discount.

How an Average Tax Dollar is Spent in Multnomah County
Source: Multnomah County 2010-2011 Property Tax Statement Guide

There are two values on each statement.  The Real Market Value is what the assessor thinks your home have sold for on January 1, 2010 (though the statement says “The amount you pay is not tied to the amount for which your property would sell.”).  The other is the Maximum Assessed Value.  That goes up 3% each year pretty much like clockwork.  You are taxed on whatever value is LOWER.  Since MAV is capped has been capped at a max increase of 3% by Measure 50 law in the 90s it is bound to be lower than RMV and this is why your property taxes aren’t going down.  It will take years for most home’s Max Assessed Value to catch the Real Market Value.

The county has examples of how taxes are calculated and how to appeal your taxes.  Most important thing about appealing your property taxes is that you have until January 3, 2011 to file.

2 Comments on “Portland Real Estate Property Taxes

  1. Great explanation for a very complicated calculation. I also love the dollar bill illustration. It takes some of the sting out of that annual bill to see where that money is going.

  2. I agree with Ian. The dollar bill illustration is very interesting. I am glad I stumbled upon your Portland Real Estate Property Tax Blog.

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