Montana property owners are expected to see an increase in the tax rate in the next year. While the extra taxes are never wished for, our state needs the money, and legislators actually delayed the increase by a year in lieu of the recession. Read on to better understand the Montana Property Tax and for tips on how to save.

A big piece of the increase was present last year too. But city commissioners decided to buy that down, using $700,000 in savings.

"Why do you have that money in savings? In part for the rainy days and rougher times," Kukulski said.

Because of the recession, commissioners thought it prudent to ease the taxpayer burden. Kukulski says you can do that once, maybe even twice.

"You can't do that year after year, you can't sustainably spend $700,000 more than you bring in for revenue," he said.

Other major reasons for the increase:

-The city has hired more police officers this past year, using a levy passed by voters in 2007.

-The state Department of Revenue is still processing hundreds of property appeals from the last two years. The results of these could lower how much money the city is getting.

-The Montana Legislature is considering changes to the state entitlement share program. Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss says these changes could negatively impact local governments across the state

We'll have a report on the entitlement share portion Tuesday.
The Bozeman finance office predicts a 12 mill increase averages out to $31.80 more for the median homeowner in the city.

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Here are some tips on how to save on your property taxes

In Montana, household goods are exempt from property taxes. However, property taxes are assessed on farm machinery, heavy equipment, automobiles, trucks and business equipment. Per capita fee also is collected on livestock.

The amount of property tax owed is not determined solely by the property's value. The property's value is multiplied by a tax rate, set by the Montana Legislature, to determine its taxable value. The taxable value is then multiplied by the mill levy established by various taxing jurisdictions -- city and county government, school districts and others.

A wide variety of property is exempt from taxation.

Montana property owners can have their property taxes reduced if they meet certain qualifications.

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