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Don't miss the extra property tax bill arriving for many Eastern Montana residents this week

Interim Yellowstone County Treasurer Marci Shafer says their office is concerned people won’t recognize the unusual additional expense.
Posted at 12:11 PM, Apr 01, 2024

BILLINGS — Make sure to check your mail this week.

Supplemental property tax bills are on their way to all property owners in Yellowstone County and many other counties in Eastern Montana. Most property owners in the state will receive this additional bill.

If you get a second property tax bill in the mail you weren’t expecting, don’t throw it out.

Interim Yellowstone County Treasurer Marci Shafer says their office is concerned people won’t recognize the unusual additional expense.

“There’s a couple different scenarios. If the second half is only owed, that will look like this one. It will have their second half amount including the additional mills that we have to assess,” Shafer said.

The cost of additional state tax mills that weren’t gathered this fall can be found in a line item labeled: Total Special Assessments.

“If they’ve paid all their taxes, then it will have just what they owe for their additional mills,” Shafer said.

In Yellowstone County, per every 100,000 of assessed home value, the additional mills will cost about $23.34, according to the Montana Deptartment of Revenue.

The average 2023 home value in Yellowstone County is about $303,000, which is an additional tax bill of $70.72.

Missing this additional payment could come at a cost.

“These bills are still being treated at the normal delinquent process. The supplemental amount, if it isn’t paid by May 31st, will incur a 2% penalty and start accruing interest daily,” said Hank Peters, tax supervisor for the Yellowstone County Treasurers’ Office.

If the bill isn’t paid by Aug. 1 it can result in a tax lien being attached by the county, Peters said.

The supplemental payment is going to the State of Montana but is required to be gathered by the county.

The Yellowstone County Treasurer's Office included the following statement on every bill explaining why this additional payment is required:

The Montana Supreme Court determined that the Department of Revenue has the authority to direct counties to levy above the current mill levy calculation limitation each year if reserved mills are determined to be available. The Department has verified that the school equalization mills — under the statutory limitations that adjust mills down when taxable values increase — are reduced from 95 mills to 77.0 mills for this tax year. However, the Department of Revenue, under the director of the Governor's Budget Office and Governor Gianforte, is directing the County to levy extra mills they hold in reserve to generate additional revenue from property taxpayers in Montana. The Supreme Court ordered counties to comply, therefore your second half taxes will necessarily be increased to comply with the request from the Department of Revenue as directed by the Governor and the Order from the Montana Supreme Court. Please remember that the local county employees and Department of Revenue employees did not play a role in this decision and the work they do is centered on complying with laws passed by the Legislature.

(Editor Note: After the story was originally published, Peters asked for this "slight correction": The Total Special Assessments line will only show the cost of additional state tax mills for those who previously paid 2023 in full. For those who didn’t pay the second half, they will have to add up the amounts for the lines that start with ELEM GEN, HS GEN, STATE EQ, and VO-TECH EQ. The Total Special Assessments line includes previously billed special assessments for those taxpayers.)

Below is an image of a redacted Yellowstone County property tax bill that shows the new line item for the supplemental payment: Total Special Assessments.