The Gallatin County Commission is disappointed in the Montana Supreme Court’s ruling last week that will force us to collect over $12.3 million in additional taxes to the state.
Earlier this fall, Gallatin County joined 48 other Montana counties in levying 77.9 mills this tax year for the state’s school equalization mills, instead of the 95 mills requested by the state.
This appraisal year, there were unprecedented increases in property values across Montana. The Gallatin County Commission saw this as an option to ease the escalating tax burden on our residents – particularly homeowners.
By doing so, we attempted to save our county’s taxpayers over $12.3 million while also ensuring Montana schools received adequate funding.
There were numerous lawsuits seeking clarity on whether counties could levy this lesser amount. Counties argued that the state is subject to the same state law that requires counties to levy fewer mills due to increased property values, which in turn limits their property tax increases.
Last month, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that counties are required to levy whatever the Montana Department of Revenue tells them to levy this year. That means we will have to collect that additional $12.3 million from our taxpayers and send to the state.
Tax bills have already been distributed for the 2024 year, prior to the Montana Supreme Court’s ruling. However, Gallatin County is working to figure out the best way to comply with this mandate and collect the additional $12.3 million in taxes from county property owners. We will communicate with our taxpayers when we have more information.