Minnesota Dept. of Revenue weighs in on 2014 property taxes

MARSHALL – Thanks to tax credits and refunds, Minnesotans will pay $8 million less in property taxes in 2014, the Minnesota Department of Revenue said this week. However, that’s no clear indicator of whether area residents will see their property tax bills grow or shrink this year. There are a lot of variables at play, including city, county and school levies, and individual property values.

Data released by the Minnesota Department of Revenue on Friday showed an overall decrease in property taxes in Minnesota for 2014, compared to annual increases over the past 12 years. The Department of Revenue figures combine all city, county, township, state, school and other property tax levies from around Minnesota, and then subtract property tax refunds and credits.

Adding up taxes from local governments, school districts, and other levies from special districts, the state general levy and TIF, Minnesotans will pay a grand total of $125 million more in property taxes than they did in 2013, the Department of Revenue said. However, that’s before $666 million in refunds and tax credits is figured in. Subtract the refunds and credits from the grand total, and it becomes an overall decrease of $8 million from 2013.

While that may sound like good news, it’s harder to tell how area property owners will be affected. The Department of Revenue data showed levies have gone up in 58 counties and more than 400 cities around the state. Many area cities and counties are among them. Lyon County Commissioners approved a 4.2 percent levy increase for 2014, the county’s first levy increase in several years. Murray and Yellow Medicine counties will each have a levy increase of more than 3 percent, and in Lincoln County property taxes will go up 7.8 percent from 2013, the data said. Among area counties, property taxes in Redwood County have stayed the most steady, with an increase of only 0.7 percent for 2014.

Things get more complicated when Lyon County taxpayers factor in city and school district levies. For example, Marshall property owners will also see a 2.9 percent increase in city property taxes, while Marshall school district levies will go down 9.4 percent from 2013.

Property values also affect how much tax individual homeowners pay.

“It’s impossible to make a blanket statement” on how a given area will be affected by property taxes, said Lyon County Assessor Dean Champine. Changes in value for one kind of property can act to shift tax burden onto or away from other kinds. For example, Champine said, rising farmland values can mean a smaller tax burden for residential properties.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue published a spreadsheet on its website tracking the change in property tax levels around the state. The full set of information is available online at www.revenue.state.mn.us/propertytax/Pages/property-tax-levies.aspx.