Here’s why your property tax bill is so high
Property tax bills in Guilford County have been sent out and so far the vast majority of people have received a much higher bill than last year.
Social media sites lit up with comments about the ‘massive’ tax hike and many of the comments said people were unsure why their tax bill had risen dramatically.
Several commentators blamed the increase on new developments, others said it was just the natural order of things after a reassessment.
The simple answer is that property owners in Guilford County and Greensboro are paying about 30% more in taxes because the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the Greensboro City Council wanted more money to spend and increased the taxes.
It’s how they raised taxes that’s confusing, and even more confusing to the people of Greensboro who are paying about a 30% increase in city property taxes because the city council wanted to increase spending on around $60 million and needed more money.
Guilford County collects property tax for Greensboro, so people receive one tax bill, which includes both their Guilford County taxes and their Greensboro taxes. It’s a much more efficient system than letting Greensboro collect its own taxes. Guilford County also collects property taxes in Guilford County and the municipalities of High Point, Jamestown, Kernersville, Oak Ridge, Pleasant Garden, Sedalia, Summerfield, Whitsett, Archdale and Burlington.
Property values in Guilford County are up about 30% since the last reassessment in 2017, but that doesn’t mean tax bills have to go up. After a reassessment, Guilford County and municipalities are required by state law to notify the public of the revenue-neutral tax rate. This is the tax rate that would generate the same amount of revenue as if the reassessment had not taken place. In 2017, when Republicans were in the majority on the Board of Commissioners, the reassessment did not result in a tax increase because the commissioners lowered the tax rate to the neutral tax rate.
In Greensboro in 2017, the city council kept the tax rate the same, resulting in the equivalent of a 2.11 cent tax increase.
In 2022, Guilford County did not lower the tax rate to the neutral income tax rate of 59.64 cents, but maintained the tax rate at 73.05 cents, which which resulted in the equivalent of an unprecedented tax increase of 13.41 cents. The result is that the county will collect about $92 million more in property tax revenue.
Greensboro cut the tax rate by 3 cents, but the result was the equivalent of an 8.69 cent increase.
Greensboro property owners are therefore suffering a double whammy: a county tax increase equivalent to 13.41 cents and a municipal tax increase equivalent to an 8.69 increase.
The fact that the county didn’t raise the tax rate and the city dropped the tax rate by 3 cents provides some cover for elected officials — and has confused a lot of homeowners. However, in a reassessment year, it is the revenue neutral rate that should be used to compare tax rates.