Property owners in the greater Portland area might be in for an unpleasant surprise the next time they open their mailboxes if they haven’t been following the news. Property tax letters with newly increased tax rates are already on their way to residents. Most homeowners should expect to pay a slight increase the next time they file taxes.

Portland resident owners won’t be too surprised, however. Anyone who has owned property in Portland metro (which covers multiple counties) for more than a few years knows that property taxes increase by at least 3% every year. That 3% tax increase reflects an equal increase in home values each year as mandated by Measure 50.  This mandate has been in effect since 1997, however, it’s not the maximum increase residents can see each year. Other factors can come into play.

Why Portland Property Taxes Are Higher in 2021

In 2021, voters approved new tax levies and bonds that will pay for upgrades to infrastructure and public services. For example, a library and bonds for parks and Portland Public Schools will benefit the community of Multnomah County for years to come. Similarly, Clackamas County residents approved bonds to create new schools in the Canby and West Linn-Wilsonville school districts. The tax hikes in  Washington County will pay for libraries and public safety services.

What Does the Tax Increase Look Like?

Although property tax rates will increase by just a few percentage points, the total tax amounts collected from taxpayers by each county serving the Portland area are nothing to scoff at. Washington County will see a 4% tax revenue increase from $1.258 billion to $1.309 billion. In Clackamas County, a 3.7% increase in taxes bumps revenue up to $998.6 million from last year’s $962.2 million. Multnomah County will see the greatest increase with tax revenue increasing 8% from  $2.047 billion to $2.218 billion.

Is There Any Way to Save Money on My Taxes?

Portland homeowners can offset some of their property tax costs by paying their bills in full by November 15th, which will earn them a 3% discount. Submitting payment for 2/3 of the tax bill gives residents a 2% discount. For taxpayers who cannot afford a lump-sum payment, the approved payment plan offers another option. Bills can be paid in thirds over six months. The first payment is still due November 15th, with the following payments due February 15th and May 16th.

Although the assessed value increases across Oregon cap at 3%, the tax amount due is still subject to increase based on the tax rate. Tax Statements also double as a value notice, so, an owner (or one of our dedicated agents) will still have the opportunity to appeal the value of industrial, commercial, real, and personal property prior to 31 December. Appealing to the county board will offer the opportunity to lower the assessed value and reduce the tax amount owed.

Some Tax Bills Will Decrease

Not every property owner will pay more, however. Tax law changes reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hotel owners, for example, may receive smaller bills than they have in the past. These decreases reflect the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality industry as people cut professional and leisure travel over the last eighteen months.