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  • Understanding your County tax bill if you live in TUSD

    Oct 08, 2018 | Read More News
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    Pima County mailed out more than 400,000 annual property tax bills in September and a new state law affecting how Tucson Unified School District accounts for its desegregation costs is causing some confusion among a few homeowners in the district. 

    The below information helps explain how to read the bills and why the information on the bill doesn't indicate a tax increase. Please click on the image of the sample tax bill for a larger version that also explains how to read the bills. 
    • Click to enlargeThe Desegregation Tax is not a new tax.  It has been levied for almost 40 years as part of the TUSD primary taxes.
    • Starting this year, the “Desegregation” tax is being shown on a separate line item in the tax bill. The State Legislature made a statutory change that now requires this.  This makes it appear to be a new tax, but it isn’t. Listing this part of the levy separately means that the amount of the line item for “TUSD Maint & Oper” is lower than it would be if “Desegregation” wasn’t split out.
    • The Arizona Constitution limits total property taxes (with certain exceptions) to 1% of a home’s assessed value. For example, if your home has a $200,000 assessed value, then the primary taxes (combined county, school district, community college, city, etc.) can be only $2,000 (or 1% of the assessed value).
    • Each year since 1980, homeowners have gotten a credit against their school district taxes for the amount of total taxes over the 1% limit. This causes your share of school district taxes to be lower than the amount levied. That portion of the school taxes is then paid for by the State in what is called “State Aid to Education.” This shows on the left side of your tax bill as a credit; it is in the second line of the “2018 Tax Summary” part.
    • Last year, the State paid about $16 million of TUSD taxes, which decreased TUSD homeowners’ overall taxes.
    • This year, the amount is about $8 million because the overall primary taxes went down.  Both Pima County and TUSD adopted lower tax levies.
    • The State Legislature made a statutory change that requires the “Desegregation” portion of a school district’s levy to be listed separately on tax bills. Some people have interpreted the change to also mean that Pima County was supposed to tax the homeowners for this amount rather than give them the normal credit.  Pima County believes that is incorrect and that the State must continue to pay this amount. 
    • Pima County therefore went ahead and reduced homeowners’ taxes this year, just as it has always done in the past.
    • Some news media are saying Pima County is collecting an illegal tax.  Actually, Pima County is giving homeowners a break on the taxes due by calling for the State to pay $8 million as the State’s portion of TUSD’s taxes.