Property owners around Cass County have been getting tax bills in the mail over the last week — and some have found unexpected increases in their bills.
As the May 12 deadline approaches to pay the first half of year 2013 property taxes, Cass County Auditor Vaneen Ide said her office has been fielding questions from many residents about their tax bills, especially from residents in the city of Logansport, where property tax rates changed significantly in the past year.
Residents pay almost a third of the county’s total property taxes, according to the most recent data released by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, which oversees city and county taxes and budgeting. In pay year 2012, revenues from residential properties made up 32 percent of property tax revenues, while agricultural property taxes were about 25 percent of the total and commercial and industrial taxes together made up about 24 percent.
Another 18 percent of property tax revenues came from business personal property taxes, levied on equipment used to produce income or held as an investment. It’s a revenue source that’s slated to undergo significant reforms next year under a bill Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law last month.
Those proportions have stayed fairly consistent in the two years following the DLGF data up to now, Ide said.
The taxes themselves, though, fluctuate depending on the different tax rates levied by local governments.
The tax rate for the City of Logansport, for example, increased from about 3.9 percent in pay year 2013 to just under 5 percent this pay year. Portions of Clay, Noble, Clinton and Washington townships within Logansport city limits also saw dramatic increases of nearly 1 percentage point or more.
The DLGF indicates local spending is the reason for increases or decreases in property tax rates. The rates were levied in 2012 and 2013, respectively, but are paid in arrears — that is, after the fact — so taxes levied in 2013 are just now coming due.