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Understanding Your Arkansas Property Tax Bill

by Tyler R. Knapp - September 17, 2018

The deadline to pay your Arkansas property tax bill is quickly approaching, so it is a good time of the year to review some of Arkansas' property tax basics.  And don't forget to submit your property tax payment by October 15 to avoid late fees and penalties!

In Arkansas, the property tax is a local tax that supports local services.  Your property tax payment stays in your community and is a critical source of funding for your public schools and county and city governments.

In fact, statewide in 2016, Arkansas public schools received 77% of property tax dollars – about $1.8 billion in funding.  County governments received 15% of property tax revenue and cities received 8%.

If you are like me, knowing where your property tax dollars go is only half the battle.  Understanding how the county actually calculated your tax bill can be fore difficult.

Arkansas Property Tax Revenue Share by Taxing Unit.  This graphic shows that 77% of property tax revenue went to public schools, while 15% went to county governments and 8% went to cities.Graphic by Chris Meux

How does the county calculate my property tax liability?

Your property tax liability is determined by the millage rates in your taxing district and the assessed value of your property.

  • Assessed Property Value: the taxable value of your property.  In Arkansas, all real and personal property is assessed 20% of market value.  So, if you owned a property with a market value of $100,000, you would only be required to pay property taxes on $20,000.1
  • Millage Rate: levied by local taxing units (school districts, counties and cities), your millage rate is the amount of taxes that you must pay per $1,000 of assessed property value.  For example, if your millage is 50 mills, you would be required to pay $50 of property tax for every $1,000 of property value.

Arkansas Property Tax Facts infographic.  A circular, multicolor image with six different facts included. The text reads: 1) October 15, Property taxes are due! Be sure to pay on time.  Late payments are subject to a 10% penalty plus costs and collector's fees; 2) $1.8 billion, The amount of funding Arkansas schools received from property taxes for the 2017-18 school year; 3) 89%, The share of total assessments from real estate and personal property in 2017, about $39.8 billion; 4) Millage, The amount of property taxes owed, in dollars, per $1,000 of assessed property value.  Statewide, the average millage rate was 47.48 in 2017; 5) 23%, The share of total revenue county governments in Arkansas received from property taxes in 2016; 6) Assessed Value, The taxable value of property.  In Arkansas, real and personal property are assessed at a rate of 20% of market value.


 

Let's take a look at the math used for calculating property taxes owed using the example of a property worth $100,000 and millage of 50:

Taxes Owed = Assessed Value x Millage Rate

Taxes Owed = (Market Value x 20%) x (Millage/1,000)

Taxes Owed = ($100,000 x 0.2) x (50/1,000)

Taxes Owed = $20,000 x 0.05 = $1,000

As you can see, the owner of this property would owe $1,000 in property taxes.  However, if the homeowner is eligible for the Homestead Tax Credit, the amount owed may be reduced. 

A homeowner paying property taxes on their primary residence may be eligible for a tax credit of $350 or the amount of taxes owed, whichever is less.

If we assume that this property owner is eligible for the Homestead Tax Credit, then:

Taxes Owed = $1,000 - Homestead Tax Credit

Taxes Owed = $1,000 - $350 = $650

Since the homeowner is liable for $1,000 in property taxes, they are eligible for the entire tax credit, reducing taxes due to $650.

Where's My Property Tax Bill?

State law requires your county collector to mail your tax bill by July 1.  If you have not received your bill, you should contact your county collector as soon as possible.  The state also has a helpful property tax portal: go to https://portal.arkansas.gov/pages/property-tax-center/ and select your county to look up and pay your bill.2

Remember, individual counties are responsible for administering the property tax, so you will need to obtain bills from each county in which you owned property.

Additional Resources

The information provided here is only a brief overview of Arkansas' property tax.  See our fact sheet Administration of Arkansas' Property Tax for more detailed information.  Or navigate to https://uaex.edu/propertytaxes to find all of our property tax resources.

If you have a question about the content of this post or any of our local government program resources, please contact Tyler Knapp at tknapp@uaex.edu or 501-671-2241.

Notes

  1. Amendment 79 of the Arkansas constitution freezes the assessed value of a homestead owned by a disabled person or a person 65 years of age and older, as long as there has not been substantial improvement to the property.  So, your real estate property tax bill may show a taxable value below the assessed value of the property.
  2. Not all counties in Arkansas accept online payment.  You may need to mail your payment, so follow the instructions on your bill.
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