by Michael J. Marino
Both eyebrows and questions have been raised in Lockwood regarding what some feel are unreasonably steep jumps in their property tax bills.
One Lockwood homeowner told YCN that ever since the Montana Department of Revenue (DOR) started using a home’s market value instead of appraisal value to assess tax, “my property tax is, by far, my biggest bill each month.” According to this homeowner, DOR claims the market value of her single-bedroom home is $533,000.00 and they’ve subsequently started charging her $5,400.00 annually on taxes. This means that her home is being taxed at a rate of at least 10%.
She further stated, “I’m on a fixed income, and I tried to apply for relief programs, but they (the DOR) won’t give me a break.” She said this was still true even after providing evidence of her financial means to the Department. This Lockwood homeowner said she grows a little more upset with the issue of property taxes every day, and said, “Something just isn’t right about it.”
A publication by the state DOR entitled “Property Tax” – published in 2021 – states that residential is “by far the largest tax class, representing 62% of taxable value [in Montana] in Tax Year 2020.” This same publication shows a table which portrays residential real estate tax rates as identical in the years 2021, 2022, and 2023, holding steady at 1.35% (see images).