Lance J. Schuster


The old saying goes that two certainties in life are death and taxes.

While we can exercise, eat right, and hope for good health, taxes are much more predictable. Taxes are assessed and notices go out every year requiring that taxes be paid on the land that we own.

Prior to taxes being levied, your farmland or grazing ground is first assessed by the county assessor. The assessor will look at various factors to determine the value of your farm ground. For example, irrigated farm ground will typically have more value than dry pasture that has no water rights.

The location of the farm ground may also be a factor in its value. After your farm is assessed, you can typically contest the assessed value if you believe that the assessment is incorrect. Your county commissioners may hear appeals.

After the assessor determines a value, the county treasurer is then required to send you a tax statement. The statement identifies the taxes owed based upon the assessed value of your property.

In Idaho, taxes may be paid all at once, or in two payments. The first half of your 2018 taxes is due on or before Dec. 20, 2018. The second half of your 2018 taxes is due on or before June 20, 2019.

If you fail to pay your taxes on time the county treasurer is required by law to assess late charges of 2 percent and interest of 1 percent per month. After a period of three years of delinquency, the county tax collector may issue a tax deed to the county, and have your property sold in order to pay taxes.

In short, there is no escaping the tax collector. Plan accordingly.

Lance J. Schuster is an agricultural attorney at Beard St. Clair Gaffney. He and his wife raise kids, hay and cattle on their small farm near Idaho Falls. He can be reached at 208-523-5171 or

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