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Property tax--United States; Tax assessment; Sampling (Statistics)


The paper seeks to evaluate the equity of property tax assessments in a rural northern Minnesota area. Criteria of both vertical and horizontal equity were examined in terms of the ability to pay and benefits measures of the intra-decile relationships. In addition, other variables affecting intra-decile horizontal equity such as age and lakeshore location were considered. The data upon which the results were based were drawn from random sampling of 1000 households in the R-31 school district at Bemidji, Beltrami County, Minnesota. The sample represented 20 percent of all such households. A total of 216 households responded to a questionnaire which asked for adjusted gross income. tax assessments, number of children enrolled in R-31 schools, property tax credits, age of taxpayers, and whether the property was lakeshore or not. The study concludes that the property tax assessments in Bemidji violate both vertical and horizontal standards for equity whether measured in terms of the ability to pay or of benefits. It also appears that intra-decile horizontal equity is violated in terms of lakeshore versus non-lakeshore assessments. Finally, older people in the lower income deciles are taxed more heavily than average.

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