Frequently Asked Questions
Why doesn’t the state of Montana have a tool to help me figure out where my taxes are going?
Great question. The data used to make this calculator is public information from the Montana Department of Revenue. They have all the information they would need to do this, but they haven’t provided it to the public in a way that is easy to find or use.
The calculator says that I have a tax increase on my home? Why did this happen?
The Governor and the majority in the Montana Legislature failed to act when they knew this tax shift was coming, and ignored a warning from the Department of Revenue. Not only that, but they voted against relief for homeowners and renters, and for tax cuts for big corporations.
The calculator also says that a lot of my taxes will go to pay for breaks for corporations. How can that be?
Since 1999, the majority in the Montana Legislature has given big breaks—including yet another one this year—to corporations to keep corporate property values improperly low while home values keep rising. While past legislatures have cushioned some of the negative impact on homeowners, the 2023 Legislature did not. Not only that, but they even cut taxes for big corporations. So, now Montana families are left to pick up the full tab for corporate tax cuts. When big corporations lobby for tax breaks, local services still need to be funded and that falls on homeowners. That’s called a tax shift.
I’ve heard some people saying local governments are responsible for the property tax shift. Is that true?
No. As many of you can see from the calculator, the majority of any tax increase is going to the state and to pay for the tax shift so that big corporations can pay less, local governments are receiving only a minimal amount of the increase. Local governments are actually limited by Montana law in how much they can raise taxes.
The calculator says I have no increase or even a decrease in property taxes. How can that be?
If you have a tax decrease, or little or no increase, you might live in a county where home values are not rising the same way they are in others. Or if your home is in a county where home prices are climbing, but your home’s value is lagging behind others in the county, then your taxes may also decrease.
Where is this information from?
All data used in this calculator to determine your estimated tax change are from the Montana Department of Revenue, including the 2022 Class 4 property (home) reappraisals and the estimated countywide average mill levy data. Using countywide average mill levies allows the calculator to work for everyone in a county. It also means that if you live in a city or town, your prior year and estimated new taxes will likely be somewhat lower than your actual taxes. If you live outside a city or town, your prior year and estimated new taxes will likely be higher than your final tax bill. However, the calculator’s estimated tax change for you from 2022 to 2023 should be reasonably close to what you will experience.
The data used for the calculator was released by the Department of Revenue in July of 2023, and this calculator will be updated with the latest information as it becomes available.