What property owners will be paying in 2021 property taxes is no longer up for debate as local government units have certified their final levy amounts. 

What is a levy?

Property taxes are based on levies set by local governments (a.k.a. “taxing units”) and the value and classification of a property.  Local taxing units can include your county, township, school district and city or town. 

These local governments use property taxes to help pay for things like libraries, schools, roads, fire protection, police, public health, parks and other services. 

Typically, each property is taxed by several taxing units. For example, each property in Kanabec County is taxed by the county, a school district and a city or township.

Every September, each government unit reviews budgets and determines how much money they must levy from taxpayers to fund those budgets. 

Governments must first set a preliminary or proposed levy. This is used to estimate next year’s property taxes for each jurisdiction’s property owners. 

Final levies are approved before Dec. 31 and can be less than the preliminary levy, but not more. These levies determine (in part) how much property owners pay in property taxes in the year 2021.

4 Stages of Property Taxes

1. Valuing the property

Minnesota property tax is divided among properties according to their value and classification.

The estimated market value and classification of a property is determined by the Kanabec County Assessor’s Office as of Jan. 2 each year.

The assessor uses historical sales in order to estimate each property’s market value.

The classification of a property is based on its use. Each class of property (residential, cabin, farm, commercial, etc.) has a different classification rate set by the Legislature. Some property types pay a greater share of the property tax than others.

2. Protesting the values

Notice of valuation statements are sent out every year in March informing you of the value and classification of your property as of Jan. 2. The value is based on qualified sales from the prior Oct. 1-Sept. 30 sales period.

If a property owner believes the value or classification of their property is incorrect, they should contact the assessor’s office right away. If a property owner is not satisfied with the results of their visit with the assessor, they may take their complaint to the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization in April.

Still not satisfied? Property owners can then take the valuation issue to the County Board of Appeal and then to Minnesota Tax Court.

3. Adopting levies

Each local government (city, township, school district, etc.) first determines how much money it needs to collect from property taxes. This amount is called the levy.

The levy is then spread among the taxpayers according to their property’s value and classification.

The Preliminary or Proposed Levy

In September, each local government must first set a preliminary or proposed levy. This is used to estimate next year’s taxes for Truth-in-Taxation notices.

Truth in Taxation

Every year between Nov. 10 and Nov. 25, all property owners receive a “Truth-in-Taxation” notice.

1. This notice includes three things:

2. The valuation and classification information

3. The current-year property tax amounts

An estimate of how taxes may change based on the local governments’ proposed levies

The notice also shows the schedule for local Truth-in-Taxation meetings. These meetings are designed for citizens to voice concerns regarding that unit’s budget and spending. This is not the time to appeal market value or discuss individual property taxes.

Approving the Final Levy

After local governments hold their Truth-In-Taxation meetings, the unit must approve the final levy before Dec. 31. The final levy can be less than the proposed levy, but not more.

4. Collecting Taxes

The Kanabec County Treasurer’s Office mails a tax statement to each property owner by March 31 each year. Taxes are due in two, equal portions.

First payment due: May 15; Second payment due: October 15 (If agricultural, second payment is not due until Nov. 15)

First payment due: May 15; Second payment due: October 15 (If agricultural, second payment is not due until  Nov. 15)

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