Guide to Idaho Property Taxes

Idaho property taxes can be confusing. As an example, you may see similar houses in the same area with different property taxes. Below is information that may be helpful when buying a home in Idaho.

Idaho Property Taxing Districts 

Property taxes are important – cities and counties depend on them to fund valuable public services (like schools) and infrastructure development (like new streets and sidewalks). Each of these is a unique “taxing district.” Taxing districts are based on where you live, which is why exact tax rate changes between counties and even cities.

Idaho has more than 1,245 unique taxing districts alone, which gives you an idea of how complicated your property tax bill can be. The more residents in a city or county, the more of a demand there is to pay for public services. That’s why tax rates are generally higher in more populated counties than in rural ones. In fact, the statewide average urban tax rate is 1.327%, while the rural rate is 0.893%.

The City of Boise – Idaho’s largest city, located in Ada County – has a helpful breakdown that shows how each property tax dollar that comes to the city is spent.

How Are Idaho Property Tax Rates Calculated?

All properties are evaluated annually by a county Property Tax Assessor and an unique tax rate is set. The assessors do not use the straight market value of your home (or what a buyer might pay for it) for taxing purposes, they use the "assessed value" of your property.

The market value of your home is the price it would likely sell for. The assessed value of your home is based on the average prices of homes similar to yours that have recently sold. The assessed value will typically be lower than the market value in an upward trending market and higher in a downward trending one.

Simply put, you can calculate your property taxes by taking the assessed value of the property, minus any exemptions and multiplying that by the levy rate.

Assessed Value – Exemptions x Levy Rate = Property Tax Amount.

As an example, and your neighbor both own three-bedroom homes that sit on a quarter-acre of property. The houses were built in the ‘70s, however, your home has a canal running along the back edge of the property. It also has a new roof, siding and windows, and the addition of a front and back porch.

Because of the canal, a mosquito abatement taxing district is applied to your property (in addition to the county tax levy) but not your neighbor’s. Your levy rate is 0.00257, while your neighbor’s rate is slightly lower at 0.00255. And because of the upgrades and additions to your home, your home’s assessed value is higher, too (let’s say at $300,000 after exemptions versus your neighbor’s at $230,000). Now let’s apply our formula to find out how much you’ll each be taxed:

Your home: $300,000 x 0.00257 = $771

Your neighbor’s home: $230,000 x 0.00255 = $587

As you can see, you will be paying significantly more in property taxes on a home that is very similar in size, age and style as your neighbor’s.

The tax rate you pay can also fluctuate from year to year. In Idaho, taxing districts can increase taxes up to 3% annually (plus growth). Each year, the Idaho State Tax Commission double checks each county to try and ensure that properties are being assessed correctly.

How Idaho Property Taxes Compare to Other States

When you look at property taxes in Idaho versus other states, Idaho's per-capita property taxes rank 42nd in the nation. Idaho's taxes are second lowest in the West (NV is the lowest).

What Is the Homeowner’s Exemption and How Do I Apply?

Homebuyers in Idaho may apply for a homeowner's property tax exemption. The state of Idaho offers a generous homeowner’s exemption for property taxes, which can only be applied to your primary residence. The exemption is equal to 50 percent of the net taxable value of your property, plus up to one acre of land, and is capped at $100,000.

While the homeowner’s exemption is the most widely-used property tax exemption, there are others. Some homeowners in Idaho – select veterans and disabled individuals on fixed incomes, for example – are eligible for Idaho’s Property Tax Reduction program (also commonly referred to as a circuit breaker). This program can reduce taxes by as much as $1,320.

The Idaho State Tax Commission administers the program but individuals must apply through their county assessor’s office. 

Property Tax Calculator

The Idaho State Tax Commission created an online property tax calculator to help homeowners estimate their current year’s property tax amount. The easy-to-use tool allows you to select your county, plug in your home value, then select your tax code area to find your estimated property tax.

However, the calculator has a few limitations. It can only calculate property taxes in 24 of Idaho’s 44 counties (the good news is, Ada County is one of those counties). It’s also only available late May/early June of each year through September, when counties begin assembling and sending out their tax bills.

How to Appeal Your Assessed Property Value

Let’s say you disagree with the assessed market value of your property. If this is the case, you’re within your rights to appeal it.

On the assessment notice you received in the mail, you’ll find your appraiser's contact information and the deadline to appeal. The assessor’s office encourages you to attempt to settle disputes by calling their office or your appraiser.

If you still aren’t satisfied, you can appeal by filling out a property assessment appeal form. From there, you’ll go before the Ada County Board of Equalization, where you have a chance to prove that the assessed value of your property isn’t accurate.

As the Ada County website notes, “In presenting your appeal, the best evidence is typically sales data from the marketplace, written analysis from a realtor or other professional source.”

It’s also good to note that residents can’t protest values from previous years, so if you’re using sales data to support your valuation of your property, it should be taken within the previous year.

Please check with you tax professional as everybody's situation is unique and the tax rules may change.

Visit Idaho State Tax Commission website to more info