Thursday, October 13, 2011
Taxes based on different districts
By SUE WATSON
There are 27 different ways to figure an ad valorem tax in Marshall County.
A property owner is taxed based upon which taxing district they domicile their vehicle, said Betty Byrd, county tax collector.
Ad valorem means according to value, and people are taxed at the county and municipal level according to the value of their property, real and personal.
It takes lots of computer power to figure out the tax bill of the residents of this county, and without computers it would be a mammoth task. The first thing a person needs to know is that where you live determines how much you will pay for your car tag, your boat, mobile home or RV tag, and how much you will pay in taxes for your home, land or business.
The entities that set your ad valorem tax rate is the county board of supervisors, the board of aldermen in the town you live in, and the school districts, Byrd said.
You have to understand taxing districts to understand who sets your tax rates, which determines what you pay for a car tag or a home.
When you file a deed, or go to register a vehicle, the first digit in the taxing district’s four-digit code is determined by which one of five supervisor districts you domicile your car – that is where you go home at night. There are five supervisor districts and, therefore, five possible numbers in the first digit of the tax district code.
“Basically, anything you have of value is determined and multiplied by the mill rate in your taxing district which determines your tax amounts,” Byrd said.
If you own property in Marshall County you will be taxed by the Marshall County Board of Supervisors. This county mill rate was set for this coming fiscal year at 76.85 mills, unchanged from year 2010. You pay this mill rate no matter where your property (or vehicle) is located in the county.
The second digit determines where your property is located – 0 means in the county, 1 means you live in Holly Springs, 2 means you live in Byhalia and 3 means you live in Potts Camp. Unincorporated areas, like Mt. Pleasant or Slayden, do not have the power to levy a tax.
If your taxing district’s second number is zero, you pay no municipal taxes whatever. But you are assessed 76.85 mills ad valorem on the value of real or personal property. Each city or town is responsible for setting their own tax levy.
The third digit in the taxing district code tells which school district you live in. If the digit is a number 1, you live in the Holly Springs School District and are assessed 59.76 mills in school tax. If you live in the county school district, you pay 35.76 mills in county school district taxes.
The fourth digit determines if your property lies in a special assessment district – typically meaning the district is a tax-exempt industry, Byrd said. There are four special assessment taxing districts. Special assessment districts pay millage for school districts and for police and fire protection, Byrd said. Community college mill rates are included. As an example, an industry that has a seven in the last digit of its taxing district is assessed 67.68 mills.
So, with 27 different ways to figure taxes, it is important to know in which taxing district your property is located first. If you live in the county, your tax bill will be less.
What gets folks riled up about taxes, Byrd said a lot of times, is what they pay for the same make and model of car or a house on a lot that is valued the same.
Say citizen “A” and citizen “B” both own a 2011 Toyota. Citizen A resides in taxing district 1110 - that is in the city of Holly Springs. His car tag will cost $512.84. Citizen B lives in the county in supervisor district 1 and his car tag costs $310.88.
“So if you live in the county your Toyota tag is $201.96 cheaper than if you live in Holly Springs,” Byrd said. Citizen A is assessed the countywide mill rate of 76.85 mills, the city mill rate of 29.21, and the Holly Springs School District mill rate of 59.76. Citizen B is assessed only the county mill rate of 76.85 mills and the county school district mill rate.
Bottom line, you pay more for your car tag if you live in Holly Springs, Byhalia or Potts Camp.
Using another example of a house and lot valued at $100,000, citizen A, who lives in Holly Springs in the 1110 taxing district will pay county taxes, city of Holly Springs taxes and City school district taxes, the ticket coming to $1,358.20 if the individual has homeowner homestead exemption.
The same $100,000 valued home and lot in the county will pay $826.10, or $532 dollars less than citizen A pays to live in a house of the same value in Holly Springs.
“People compare cars and houses and one pays a lot less than the other and they don’t understand why,” Byrd explained.
The mill rates are set by the boards of the municipal governments, by the county board of supervisors and by the school districts, she said.
The true value (market value) of real or personal property is determined by the Mississippi Department of Revenue (State Tax Commission) which sets the rules and regulations, Byrd said.
After the property’s true value is assessed, the tax assessor determines the assessed value which usually is 10 or 15 percent of true value depending on whether a property is homesteaded or not.
The big savings to homesteaders is not just the $300 homestead exemption credit, but that the property is assessed at 10 percent of true value rather than 15 percent of true value for non-homesteaded property, Byrd said.
Tax bills on real and personal property not including car tags, will be sent out the first week in December for taxes assessed for year 2011. Taxes become due by February 1, 2012, and must be paid by that deadline to avoid fines, late fees and penalties.
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