Summit County assessment calculations comply with state law, officials say

Summit County Courthouse.
Park Record File Photo

Amid ongoing concerns about rising property taxes in Summit County, a representative from the Utah State Tax Commission claimed the county was complying with state laws, but admitted that the system needed to be improved.

Josh Nielsen, Director of Property Tax for the State Tax Commission, appeared before Summit County Council on Wednesday to provide an overview of the property tax system and the 2022 property tax roll. said Summit County had passed an audit, which is a good tool to ensure properties aren’t isolated, but he admitted it wasn’t good enough.

And the problem isn’t just in Summit County.

“We recognize that this has been an unprecedented year like we’ve never seen before, and that’s causing problems across the state,” he said. “Everyone, especially homeowners, is seeing big increases in their taxes.”

Nielsen said several factors contributed to the increase, including significant increases in property values, county tax increases and the shifting of charges between residential and commercial properties.

“Residential has grown at a significant rate that we’ve never seen before, and the problem with that is that we haven’t seen the same increase in commercial, industrial and non-residential properties. In a normal market you may see only a few percent fluctuation between these different property types but with commercial it’s probably only about 10 or 15% whereas residential in Summit County is around 35%,” he said. “So the landlord tax shift happens automatically.”

State audits are good tools, Nielsen said, but “they’re not good enough.” The State Tax Commission requires each county to conduct a detailed review every five years to help find areas missed by audits.

Summit County also conducts annual appraisals using comparable property sales information in specific areas. Seven assessors covering different regions, including North Summit, South Summit, the Snyderville Basin and Park City proper, are responsible for performing a detailed review of 20% of properties in their region per year during the cycle. There are approximately 43,000 parcels of residential and commercial properties in the county.

Summit County Assessor Stephanie Poll previously said there is a backlog of nearly 500 commercial properties that have not been reassessed in five years. These properties are taxed at a higher rate than primary residences, but old assessments may undervalue the property.

Nielsen said Wednesday that commercial properties in the county need to be assessed so everyone pays their fair share of taxes. He maintained that the county was complying with state law.

Nielsen sympathized with taxpayers and called the situation “unfortunate”. However, he said it allows the property tax division to see the flaws in the system. The legislature is taking the issue seriously and working to reduce the impact on homeowners, according to Nielsen.

“Just because we feel the 2022 tax roll is good enough and has met the requirements doesn’t mean it has to meet… we can all agree it’s not perfect,” he said. -he declares. “It can be better.”

Despite appeals to the county council to reject the 2022 assessment, the group did not appear ready to do so. They asked Nielsen what they needed to do to help the assessor’s office catch up. He recommended that they hire at least one additional appraiser and consider adding a data scientist to collect and analyze property appraisals.

Poll then asked the county council to consider adding a full-time data analyst, which they agreed to fund.

Landlords can lodge an appeal with the Equalization Board until 5 p.m. on September 15 if they believe their property is overpriced. Appeals can only relate to the market value, not the amount of tax. Final tax bills will be mailed in October.

Visit or contact the Summit County Auditor’s Office for more information.