If you’re looking for the most affordable property tax rates in the US, Alaska may not be your first pick. It’s ranked the thirteenth highest in the country for property tax rates, but some of this is offset by Alaska’s higher household median income. Despite dire reports of tax rates gone wild, the state still offers something to those looking for the lowest property taxes in Alaska.
Alaska’s Property Tax Highs and Lows
Alaska is a land of extremes – long, sweet summer days and harsh winter nights. It’s a land of dark, primeval forests and razor-backed mountain ranges softened only by snow. Wild, rushing rivers feed into deep, glacial lakes where trout fin through the fathomless depths. The sea only stops its ceaseless movement in the coldest months when the ice forms thick and solid. And just like the ever-changing seasons, the state’s property tax rates swing from Port Alexander’s zero land levy to Anchorage’s average $3,563 yearly property tax (1.32 percent of median home value).
The ABCs of Alaska’s Boroughs
Over 730,000 people call Alaska their home, and at last count, almost 13 percent live in no man’s land. Despite being the largest state in the country, only a tiny portion of the territory is subject to property tax. While most states are divided into counties, Alaska organizes itself into boroughs – and the largest is called the Unorganized Borough. While it’s not officially a borough, the term is a catch-all for a large swath of territory not subject to local government. Nor property tax.
Lowest Property Taxes in Alaska
According to the Alaska Department of Commerce, only 15 of the state’s 19 boroughs charge a property tax. Additionally, only nine cities outside of Alaska’s boroughs charge a land levy; and this means that only 24 municipalities collect taxes from property owners. For those who enjoy amenities afforded to those who pay their excise-related dues, the median property tax rate for the land of the midnight sun is $2,422. The lowest rate is found in the Hoonah-Angoon area, which runs about $678 per year on a house assessed at $184,200. Another affordable option is the Yukon-Koyukuk area – residents pay an annual rate of $750 on a home with a median value of $99,500 (0.75 percent of a property’s fair market value).
Property Tax Breaks for Alaska’s Finest
Not everybody will need to move to the Alaskan wilderness to sidestep property payment. Senior citizens are exempt from taxes on the first $150,000 of their assessed house value. If an eligible senior passes away, the widow or widower may receive the exception if they are at least 60 years old. Disabled veterans are also eligible but must be at least 50 percent debilitated due to their service. If the veteran member passes due to military service, the exemption will transfer to the individual’s spouse. Several of Alaska’s boroughs and municipalities also offer their deductions and exemptions for property owners. For example, Anchorage offers a residential exemption where owners can claim up to a 20 percent exemption on their property.
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Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash
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