INSIDE REAL ESTATE: It’s property tax time for Anchorage
The second half of Anchorage’s 2018 property taxes are due Aug. 1. If you’re a residential property owner with a mortgage, this date probably goes by without notice as your taxes are collected on a monthly basis along with your principal, interest and insurance payments.
However, if you own land, commercial or personal property, you’re about ready to write a check to continue having the benefit of owning property in the Municipality of Anchorage or be eventually foreclosed upon.
The MOA’s property tax base composition consists of 65 percent residential, 27 percent commercial and 8 percent personal property. However, there are some significant exemptions you should be aware of.
The most popular ones are for senior citizens and disabled veterans. State reimbursement for these exemptions ended in 1996 but have continued without reimbursement in the MOA.
Total exemptions in 2017 included the municipality (20 percent) residential (10 percent), state (8 percent), federal (9 percent), education MOA (7 percent), charitable (5 percent), religion (4 percent), disabled veteran (4 percent) education state (3 percent), native claim (2 percent) and hospital (4 percent).
All total these exemptions add up to 24 percent of the full value determination of $40.24 billion.
The April 3 regular municipal election raised the residential exemption from 10 percent up to $20,000, to 20 percent up to $50,000. Most everyone has their favorite charity or cause they would like to have exempted but every exemption increases the burden on the majority of property owners who are homeowners.
The greatest benefit to the change was for homeowners with a tax assessed valuation under $500,000. However, regardless of how low the tax assessed valuation was on a commercial property, the tax burden was simply shifted to all commercial owners.
Commercial property is described as anything over a triplex. This is particularly troublesome for renters as multi-family investors and commercial owners will simply pass on the increases to renters and small business owner who lease space in office buildings or retail space.
Last year’s residential assessment included 86,681 properties with a valuation of $25.47 billion. There were 10,671 commercial properties for a value of $10.63 billion. Personal property was $2.95 billion. All taxable properties had -0.8 percent percent change in valuation.
Residential properties had the biggest average change with a decline of 1.3 percent for single family; 2 percent decline for duplex/triplex; a 0.9 percent for condos while vacant land had an increase of 2.7 percent.
Alaska is a non-disclosure state for sales and so it’s interesting to learn how the municipal assessor determines value by looking online for listings, picking up flyers or maybe even cold calling?
One perennial question that is always asked by home sellers is “How does my tax assessed value compare to the ‘real’ price I’m going to get when I sell?” The MOA even has a chart for that. When comparing average assessed value to MLS average sales price, the MOA claims that their assessed values are 96 percent of the Multiple Listing Service’s average sales price.
Last year, that was an average assessed value of $351,264 compared to the average sales price of $365,472 but keep in mind that assessed value is only a guesstimate due to Alaska’s non-disclosure status.