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Frequently Asked Questions

The mission of the Salt Lake County Assessor’s Office is to consistently provide the public with the Fair Market Value of real and personal property through professionalism, efficiency and courtesy in compliance with the laws and statutes of the State of Utah and other applicable standards of assessment.

We will accomplish these objectives on behalf of the people of Salt Lake County in the following ways:

  • By administering our duties as public servants in partnership with those we serve
  • By demonstrating fairness and equity
  • By utilizing effective communication
  • By incorporating technology to ensure accuracy and timeliness
  • By educating ourselves and the public about our respective duties and responsibilities
  • By planning for the future

The Utah Constitution, Article XIII, Section 2, requires "All tangible property in the State, not exempt under the laws of the United States, or under this Constitution, shall be taxed at a uniform and equal rate in proportion to its value, to be ascertained as provided by law."

Title 59, Chapter 2 of the Utah Code is the Property Tax Act, which contains provisions for levying and collecting taxes on both personal and real property. Provisions of 59-2 also cover appeals (59-2-1001 et seq), exemptions, deferrals and abatements (59- 2-1101 through 59-2-1220), tax liens (59-2-1301 et seq), delinquencies (59-2- 1331 through 59-2-1334), and sales of property for delinquent taxes (59-2-1302, 59-2-1303 and 59-2-1343 through 59-2-1364). In addition, Tax Commission Rules R884 pertains to property tax as well as the Uniform School Fund

Tax rates are set by procedures established in the Utah Constitution. Rates are not set by the County Assessor. There are many different rates in Salt Lake County and those vary across the county depending on which school district, city, special service districts etc the property is located. The tax rate levied against a property makes a great deal of difference in the taxes paid.

 Tax Rate Calculation:   Approved Budget ÷ Total Tax Base = Tax Rate

Note: The tax rate is fine-tuned through other factors such as the five-year collection rate and the historical level of the board of equalization adjustments.

Total Tax Base Includes The Following:

  • Locally assessed Residential
  • Locally assessed Commercial
  • Locally assessed Personal Property
  • Some Fee in Lieu (Motor Vehicle – boats, trailers, motor homes, motorcycles)
  • State Assessed by Tax Commission (such as mines, utility companies, airlines, etc.)

Note:  Each taxing entity has a distinct tax base

For Example:  The tax base for the County includes the entire county while the tax base for the Un-incorporated Salt Lake County includes only the Unincorporated County. (Which includes Kearns, Magna, Millcreek, White City, as well as the other unincorporated areas.)

Property taxes are an important source of revenue for public (K-12) schools, libraries, city and county governments. As in most states in the United States, property taxes are the backbone of funding of local government and schools. Salt Lake County's property tax with some changes has fulfilled this basic function since statehood.

Generally, public (K-12) schools receive the largest share of the property tax, as well as city government, county government, libraries, water districts, mosquito abatement districts, etc.

The method for figuring ad valorem taxes requires four steps: You must know the taxable market value of your property, the assessment ratio(55% of market value for Residential property;100% for all others), any exemptions, and the tax rate for your area of the county.

The County Treasurer sends out a tax bill in October each year. If nothing is paid by November 30, the full amount is due and becomes delinquent January 1 with applicable penalties owed.

If you have any questions concerning your real or personal property, please contact our office. It is important to our office to correct any factual or valuation errors. Property Owners are always welcomed year round to meet informally with staff, to correct errors in property characteristics and to discuss valuation issues.

For Questions concerning the Board of Equalization, please go to Salt Lake County Property Tax Division

There are numerous types of sales occurring throughout the county. Some of which are less than market as well as some more than market. Market value must be viewed as a willing buyer and willing seller without any undue pressure to buy or sell. For example if an individual is transferred from the county or inherits property, they may choose to sell below the market to rid themselves of the burden of trying to maintain two households. On the other hand one might choose to purchase a home above the indicated market value for reasons such as location to one's employment, relatives, schools and fondness of the overall structure and layout of the property. These, along with other sales that have occurred in the neighborhood, must be considered. We determine what the majority of similar properties are selling for, in that neighborhood, and apply those findings in terms of market value for each property.

Property values are based on the activity in the marketplace. If homes, similar to yours, are selling for a higher price state law requires the assessor to value your property in a similar manner.

It is not a penalty. Although it does occur, few people will pay more for something than it is worth. Therefore if a number of homes similar to yours are selling for more based on the price paid by newcomers to your neighborhood, it increases the marketability and market value of your property should you decide to sell.

The newer homes will not have a direct affect on your value. We will compare your home to similar properties in terms of age, condition and size as well as a number of other variables. However, as the desirability of a neighborhood increases, even older homes may increase in value.

The County Assessor does not establish the amount of taxes you pay. If the market value placed on your property by the assessor remained the same as the previous year, the increase in your taxes can be attributed to an increase in tax rates within your particular tax district and tax rates can increase due to the public voting for bond issues; such as, school bonds, jail, etc., or an increase in the budget of a taxing entity.

No, not on an annual basis. However, Utah law requires a review of property characteristics once every five years. With modern technology, every property is appraised annually which helps maintain equity in market values throughout Salt Lake County.

In order to establish a market value for your property we must analyze the market in your neighborhood. As homes with similar characteristics are sold, values are adjusted to follow the market.

The value of your property is based on the market in your neighborhood. If the values in your area, based on sales, increase we must increase the value of similar properties to maintain current market values as required by law. However, if the values were to decrease based on sales, we again must make the necessary adjustments and maintain the current market value by decreasing the values in the neighborhood.