Frequently Asked Questions
What is the mission statement of the Salt Lake Assessor’s Office?
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 statues 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
What is the job of the County Assessor?
The County Assessor is responsible for the following:
- Lists and maintains records on each piece of taxable "real" and "personal property" in Salt Lake County.
- Real Property includes land and buildings.
- Personal Property includes business furniture and fixtures, business equipment, construction equipment, and manufactured homes.
- The Salt Lake County Assessor is responsible for the equitable and fair assessment of all taxable properties in Salt Lake County. Individual parcels now number over 308,000 and cover an area of 737 square miles with a market value over $70 billion. There are over 90,000 personal property accounts valued over $3.6 billion and over 725,000 motor vehicles. Public access to these records, excluding motor vehicle records which are private, is available online and at the office at 2001 South State Street N2-600.
- The County Assessor annually determines fair market value for residential, commercial, and other taxable property in Salt Lake County. Fair market value of real property may go up or down depending on the real estate market in the county. Personal Property is valued based on schedules developed by the Tax Commission.
What legal references exist concerning assessment laws?
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
How Are Tax Rates Set For My Property?
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.
What is the tax rate calculation?
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.)
Each taxing entity has a distinct tax base
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.)
Where Does My Property Tax Money Go?
Property taxes are an important source of revenue for public (K-12) schools, libraries, city and county government. 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 district, etc.
How Do I Calculate My Real Property Tax?
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.
When Do I Pay My Tax?
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.
What If I Disagree With The Market Value Placed On My Property?
For Questions concerning the Board of Equalization, please go to
Salt Lake County Tax Administration
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.
I just purchased my property. Why have you valued it for more than I paid for it?
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 ones 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.
How can my property be worth more if I haven't done anything to it?
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.
Why should I be penalized for somebody else paying a high price for a home in my neighborhood?
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.
I have an older home in an area where they are building new homes. How will this affect my property value?
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.
If you didn't increase my market value, why did my taxes increase?
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.
Do you visit each home in the county?
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.
How can my property increase in value if it is getting older?
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.
Will my value increase every year?
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.
Terms & Definitions
Ad Valorem Taxation
according to the value of the property.
The assessment percentage applied to the market value of the property. Residential property's assessment ratio is 55% and commercial and personal property ratios are 100% of market value.
A computerized or non-computerized record required by law to be kept by the county assessor and containing information about property within a taxing jurisdiction.
The year beginning January 1 of each calendar year and ending on December 31.
Coefficient of Dispersion (C.O.D.)
A statistical measure of assessment uniformity for a category of property or for all property within a taxing jurisdiction. The statutory level for residential property in Utah is 10% or less. Salt Lake County is typically between 4 and 8 percent.
Cost Approach to Value
The total dollar expenditure for labor, materials, legal services, architectural design, financing, taxes during construction, interest, contractor's overhead and profit and entrepreneurial overhead and profit.
County Board of Equalization
The board which, upon hearing evidence, has the authority to correct and adjust the assessment rolls in its respective county to conform to fair market value.
The process for making adjustments to taxable property values within a county by analyzing the relationships between assessed values and fair market values
Fair Market Value
The value or price at which a willing buyer would purchase property and a willing seller would sell property if both parties are knowledgeable about the property and its uses and if neither party is under any undue pressure to buy or sell.
The amount actually paid or about to be paid in a particular transaction
The estimated sale price that would result from careful consideration of all information by a prudent, responsible buyer and seller under conditions of a fair sale (an arm's length sale).
The environment of a subject property that has a direct and immediate effect on value.
Truth In Taxation Notice
This refers to the assessment notice that is mailed to a property owner concerning changes in the assessed value of the property. It contains information such as the Market and Assessed values as well as the date it was mailed and information about filing an appeal with the County Board of Equalization if the property owners disagree with the market value indicated on the notice.
A contiguous area of land described in a single description by a deed or other instrument or as one of a number of lots on a plat or plan, separately owned and capable of being separately conveyed.
The actual taxable status of the property.
The County Assessor is given the task of maintaining an active and systematic program to be sure that all county property is annually appraised.
Where the property is physically located.
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 limit, special service districts, etc. the property is located. The tax rate levied against a property makes a significant difference in the amount of taxes paid.
Tax Rate Calculation
Approved Budget ÷ Total Tax Base = Tax Rate
A listing of all taxable property in the county for a given year. Must be completed on or before May 22nd.