Homeownership in Wyoming is a great step forward for an investor. Residential property can be a lucrative investment, yielding residual income for a long time to come. However, it doesn't come without compliance requirements that you need to be mindful of, especially if you want to avoid dealing with unwanted consequences down the line.
Property taxes fall under this umbrella of requirements, and it's in your best interest to understand how it works and what you need to take care of so you aren't on the wrong side of the legal fence.
So, what can you hope to learn as you browse this guide? Some of the key details are when your payments are due, how the fair market value of the property is used for determining actual tax dollars, what you can potentially do to reduce your tax burden, when the taxes are due, and what happens if you're late.
Sure, it sounds like quite a bit to take in, but we'll make it super simple for you!
How Many Times Do You Pay Property Taxes a Year in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, your actual tax bill will be generated by September 1 of each year. Mailing will typically take place not too long after. Though you get a single bill, you are given two options to get your payments in. Your first option is to pay the full thing by December 31. Alternatively, you can choose to go the installment plan route.
Two equal installments will be used here with the first being due by November 10 and the second being due by May 10 of the following year.
Consequences of Late Payments
Depending on the payment schedule applicable, your taxes are considered delinquent if they do not go in by the prescribed dates. Any property taxes that remain unpaid after these times will result in interest being applied to the outstanding payments at a rate of 18% per annum.
Should the taxes continue to go unpaid, you risk losing your property in a tax sale.
How to Pay a Property Tax Bill in Wyoming
The first option is to pay your property taxes by mail. If you want to do it this way, check your county procedures to find out how to address the check.
Next, you can choose to pay in person, and again, where you go will differ based on which county you are in.
There is also the online option that allows for the convenience of paying from wherever you are. Your county site will direct you on how to pay online and what payment types are accepted. Typically, you'll be allowed to pay by credit and debit card, with other options such as account payments being possible. Note, however, that these payment types tend to come with small processing charges.
Depending on the location, there may also be a drop box option that allows for some level of convenience, though you would still need to visit the applicable building or have someone drop it off.
How Much Is Property Tax in Wyoming?
For any given home in Wyoming, the assessed value of the property will come into play as well as the total tax rate. For any residential property, the assessed value can be calculated as 9.5% of the fair market value.
As for the fair market value, it's up to each county assessor to determine what this is. The assessor will do a physical property inspection at least once every six years, with the valuation done based on whatever is observed. However, updates will use mass appraisal techniques.
The actual valuation date is January 1 of each year. As for the property tax rates, remember that these payment requirements are dependent on the needs of local governments. Therefore, the local taxing entities will do a budget request submission, which is then divided by the total assessed value in a given district, and this will be used to calculate the tax rate.
Any home's tax rate is the sum of all applicable rates. In Wyoming, you will hear the term "mill levy" being used, and this is because rates in the state are expressed in a measurement known as mills. This is simply $1 of tax per $1,000 of assessed value.
The number of mills is multiplied by the assessed value of the property, which will yield your total annual tax bill.
Bear in mind though that limitations are imposed on the mill rate that counties, cities, and school districts are allowed to charge. A county can only levy 12 mills with cities only being allowed 8 mills.
How Can I Lower My Property Taxes in Wyoming?
There's no doubt that property taxes can be quite a financial responsibility to deal with, and this will often leave homeowners wondering what they can do to lower the burden that they have to deal with. Here are a few options that you can consider.
Appeal Your Assessment
In the state of Wyoming, you can appeal your property taxes based on a disagreement with the property value used in the process. If you are successful in this quest, then you can see your bill being lowered. This appeal must come within 30 days of receiving your Notice of Assessment, with a few increasing stages of appeal being allowed if you disagree with subsequent decisions.
If a disaster has destroyed or damaged your home and the governor has declared a state of emergency, you may be able to get property tax relief.
Exemptions are effectively credits that can be applied to your tax bill if you meet certain requirements. For example, there is the Wyoming Senior Citizens exemption, which is formally called the Tax Refund for the Elderly and Disabled. Once qualified seniors based on income limits are successful, they can receive a direct refund payment of $100 - $900. Find out what kinds of exemptions may be available in your county.
Wyoming property tax is a requirement for real property, but it can feel like a spider web to navigate. You need to know how much to pay, when to pay, how to pay, what to do if you think the required amount is unfair, etc.
While the information above is a solid base, remember to call in a tax professional for further assistance where needed.
If you're looking for more tips on property management accounting, check out our whitepaper on the best tips for simplifying this complex process.