By Catherine Reagor| October 24th, 2019
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Phoenix-area property tax bills are out, but don’t expect the usual postcard in the mail showing how much you owe.

The Maricopa County Treasurer's Office isn’t mailing out annual tax statements to property owners with mortgages anymore. That means most Valley homeowners won't get one.

Many homeowners can expect their bill to climb due to higher property values and levies from Maricopa County’s nearly 2,000 taxing municipalities and districts.

But most Valley property owners won't know how much their taxes climbed until they see a bigger bill for their monthly mortgage payment early next year. 

"I’m stunned that the Maricopa County Treasurer would blatantly ignore the Legislature’s directive to mail tax bills to all property owners,” said Jennifer Stielow, vice president of the Arizona Tax Research Association. “None of us at the office have received our tax bills, and we all have mortgages."

The county Treasurer's Office didn’t respond to requests for information about this year’s property tax bills.

It appears tax bills are only sent to mortgage lenders and property owners who don’t have a mortgage. Lenders add higher tax payments to mortgage payments.

Rising tax bills in Arizona

Arizona has one of the most complicated property tax systems in the U.S.

Homeowners who may live only a block apart can pay varying taxes due to school districts and special taxing areas including water, fire districts and even streetlights.

Valuations from the Maricopa County Assessor are mailed out in February for the year before. But there’s an 18-month lag between valuations and property taxes.

Valley homeowners are currently being taxed on valuations from 2017, when values jumped 10.5%.

Changes to taxes in 2019 include:

  • Maricopa County will collect about $45 million more in property taxes for a total of $700 million.
  • Taxes for flood districts increased $4 million to almost $66 million, according to the Treasurer's website.
  • Library districts are collecting almost $1.2 million more for a total of $22.3 million this year.

To see if your property taxes are up, go to the treasurer's website. If you don't know your parcel number, or APN, you can look it up on the assessor's website. The bill will show what districts are taxing you.

Check Maricopa County’s tax assessment book to see whether levies from cities, schools and special districts in your area are up or down.

How is property tax money allocated?

Here's an approximate look how property tax money is distributed:

  • 54% to school districts.
  • 11.3% to Maricopa County.
  • 11.4% to municipalities.
  • 11.1% to community colleges.
  • 8.7% to special taxing districts including those set up to fund libraries and flood districts.
  • 3.8% to the state.

Property owners can appeal valuations, but not property taxes in Arizona. The 18-month delay between valuations and taxes was set up for appeals.

Property owners who want to protest tax rates need to do it during the summer when the county, cities and school districts meet to set their rates for the year.

The tax rates for your next bill are already set.

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-8040. Follow her on Twitter @Catherinereagor.

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