Monday - Friday
9:00am - 5:00pm
701 W College Ave, Suite 104
St Maries, ID 83861
Maps & Records
Donna Spier, Assessor
The Assessor's office maintains a record of all current ownership of property, records of building characteristics, exemptions applied to properties, official ownership plat maps, copies of all recorded surveys and subdivision plats, and assesses the market value of all property in Benewah County. Various exemptions and other programs to reduce property tax burdens are also administered through the Assessor's office.
Assessed values are a means of distributing the tax burden in that particular taxing district. Budgets are set by the taxing districts and are divided by the assess value in each district to compute the levy rate for tax purposes.
Idaho Code requires the Assessor's office to reappraise property on a five-year cycle, meaning each property is physically reappraised at least once every five years to assure accuracy in assessment. It is required that valuations be adjusted to reflect the market as of January 1 every year.
The Assessor's office analyzes trends in sale prices, rent, and construction costs, to establish the value of all taxable property. Idaho law requires all property be valued consistent with the local market. Valuation is assessed based on the actual use of the parcel. Idaho is a non-disclosure state; however the Assessor's office depends heavily on the public to provide sales information. The resulting valuations will be more accurate and equitable if more information is available.
Valuation notices are mailed the first Monday of June to owners of property in Benewah County. These notices provide the current year's market value of their property. Property owners should review the assessments carefully, checking valuations to assure exemptions applied for are shown.
Anyone with questions or concerns about their assessment should contact the Assessor's office to review their appraisal as soon as they receive their assessment notice. Changes can be made in the office through the fourth Monday of June. Issues that are noticed after that date can be reviewed but changes will not be made until the next year.
Property owners who are not able to reach an agreement with the Assessor's office can appeal their values (not taxes) to the Board of Equalization. Forms are available during June through the Assessor's office and the Auditor's office. Owners will need to provide evidence for why they believe the assessed value of the property is incorrect. The deadline to appeal valuations is the fourth Monday of June.
Exemptions and Reductions in Property Valuations
The Homeowner's Exemption is available for properties where the owner resides as their primary residence. The current exemption reduces the valuation of the home and homesite up to one acre in size by half up to a maximum reduction of $125,000. The application is available through the office and all owners residing in the home must sign. Properties held in the trust of an LLC may be eligible with the appropriate additional forms. There is no longer a deadline for these forms; however it is encouraged to return them prior to the fourth Monday of June.
Owners of forested parcels with a minimum of five acres (six if a residence is situated on the parcel) may designate their property as timber. Land approved for timber designation is valued below market value for property tax purposes. The property must be held and used for the purpose of growing and harvesting trees of a marketable species. The deadline to apply for this exemption is December 31st. It is a one-time application, unless there is a change in ownership or use of the property. The application process requires a form to be signed by all owners, and a
management plan as defined in Idaho Code must accompany the form.
BROCHURE / LETTER / FORM
Landowners who are actively farming, grazing or leasing property for farming or grazing may have their property valued under an agricultural designation. Idaho Code describes agricultural land as land actively devoted to agriculture and part of a bona fide profit-making agricultural venture. Land utilized for grazing of a horse or other animals kept primarily for personal use or pleasure shall not be considered to be land actively devoted to agriculture. The process for exemption requires a form to be signed and proof of agricultural use to be submitted.
FORM 5+ ACRES
FORM <5 ACRES
Property Tax Reduction
Property Tax relief is available to qualifying homeowners who live in their home as their primary residence (owners who are in a nursing facility or other care may qualify if they are not renting out their home).
Through the Property Tax Reduction Program (also known as a Circuit Breaker) the State of Idaho provides payment for a portion of property taxes on a slide scale based on income. Applications are available at the Assessor's office. To be eligible the owner must fit one of the following categories as of January 1st:
PROPERTY TAX REDUCTION FLYER
Veterans Property Tax Reduction Program
The Veterans Property Tax Reduction Program reduces property taxes for qualified veterans. To qualify veterans must have a 100% service-connected disability rating, or receive 100% compensation due to individual unemployability. Applications are available in the Assessor's office or on the State Tax Commission website.
Applications are available in January and the deadline for application is April 15 each year. This program must be applied for annually.
TAX BENEFIT FOR VETERANS
State Property Tax Deferment
The State of Idaho also offers a program for deferring property tax payments. Unlike the other programs, opting for deferment does require repayment.
The Assessor's office maintains property maps and ownership records. All recorded surveys and subdivision plats are available for review and can be purchased through the office.
A GIS (Geographic Information System) interactive map is available for view here. This map shows features like ownership, fire districts, and other useful information. This map cannot take the place of a survey to determine property boundaries. The GIS layer is continually being updated and corrected.
The Assessor's office is also tasked with registering and titling motor vehicles. This is handled through the Auto License Department.