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Comparing the Differences in Property Taxes Around the United States

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence have released their annual "50-State Property Tax Comparison Study."
May 24, 2017, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona
Joseph Sohm

The 50-State Property Tax Comparison Study "documents the wide range of property tax rates in 2016 for more than 100 U.S. cities and helps explain why they vary so widely," according to a post announcing the new report on the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy website.

"Data are available for 73 large U.S. cities and a rural municipality in each state, with information on four different property types (homestead, commercial, industrial, and apartment properties), and statistics on both net tax bills (i.e., $3,000) and effective tax rates (i.e., 1.5 percent)," explains the post.

A press release sent to Planetizen reveals the key findings from the report.

  • For the 12th year in a row, New York City has a larger discrepancy in property tax rates for multi-family rental apartment buildings compared to owner-occupied homes than any other U.S. city.
  • Detroit, which has the highest effective tax rate on a median valued home, has by far the lowest median home value of the cities covered in the report.
  • Cities with high local sales or income taxes do not need to raise as much revenue from the property tax, and thus have lower property tax rates on average. For example, the report shows that Bridgeport, Connecticut has one of the highest effective tax rates on a median valued home, while Birmingham, Alabama has one of the lowest rates. However, in Bridgeport, city residents pay no local sales or income taxes, whereas Birmingham residents pay both sales and income taxes to local governments. Consequently, despite the fact that Bridgeport has much higher property taxes, total local taxes are higher in Birmingham ($2,560 vs. $2,010 per capita).

The report also measures the impact of property tax assessment limits, which have been adopted by 19 states, including California, with its infamous Prop. 13. Despite California's reputation, the report finds New York to have the widest discrepancy between property tax assessments for newly owned homes and home that have been owned for longer periods of time.

Planetizen has checked on the findings of the 50-State Property Tax Comparison Study every year since 2014.

An article by Steve Randall for Mortgage Professional America offers additional insight into the findings of this year's report

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Published on Thursday, May 18, 2017 in Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
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