Talk about good timing: This morning, I attended a class about Deschutes County property taxes with County Assessor Scot Langton –- the same day, as Langton pointed out, that many of us can expect to find our new property tax bill in our mailboxes. Oh, goody.
In all likelihood, Langton said, what most of us will find there won’t be a pleasant surprise: a higher bill than last year. We are, after all, looking at another year of strong real estate market appreciation. And even though the county’s property-value assessments are calculated at least eight months behind any given real estate market (the assessor places value as of Jan. 1 of each year and the corresponding tax statement isn’t released until late October of the same year), we’re in the midst of a several-years-long period of notable growth — 10 percent or more per year in many of our regional markets — that is just now beginning to show signs of slowing down.
In short, better luck next year.
In case you need some help deciphering all those numbers on your current tax statement, here are a few options:

  1. Deschutes County has produced a rather corny (but refreshingly informative) video that sums up the process as best as anyone I’ve seen.

Here it is:


  1. I’ve done my best to explain Oregon’s absurdly complex property-tax system in several previous posts, like this one. And this one.
  2. I’ve also written about how to appeal your property taxes.

If you’d like your tax bill explained by the source, you might want to attend one of the upcoming Town Halls, in which Langton and his staff will discuss how the county appraises property and determines values. They’ll also be available to address any questions you may have.
Or you can call the Deschutes County Tax Assessor’s office at 541-388-6508, for more info. They’ll also walk you through the tax appeals process, which is pretty straightforward. (To successfully appeal your property taxes, you’ll need to provide evidence to substantiate your claim that the value the assessor has attached to your property is too high.) Appeals must be filed by Jan. 3, 2017.
Here’s the Town Hall schedule:
Nov. 2, 5-6:30 pm: Bend – Deschutes Services Bldg, DeArmond Room
Nov. 3, 5-6:30 pm: Redmond Fire Hall
Nov. 7, 5-6:30 pm: Sisters Council Chamber
Nov. 8, 5-6:30 pm: La Pine City Hall
By the way, your property-tax payments must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, Nov. 15, to be eligible for a discount and to avoid late penalties.

About the Author
Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE, is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Bend and Redmond.