Property tax timing set by law

We were wondering why we pay property taxes right before the major holidays instead of springtime when most folks receive their income taxes? They could even do it at some other time of the year, but not near Thanksgiving and Christmas.

— Claudia and Don C., Klamath Falls

No time of the year is a good time for taxes, Claudia and Don. Yes, you can quote us on that one.

Bear with us for a second as we deconstruct your question. You are suggesting that it would be better to have to pay property taxes at the same time as many receive their income tax returns. We see one flaw in that idea, Claudia and Don. Many people have to pay more to the IRS around April 15. Add to that a property tax payment and the pain intensified.

Tax deadlines are covered under Oregon statutes, and the deadlines have been around for at least 60 years, said Bob Estabrook, spokesman with the Oregon Department of Revenue. The state statute governing property tax deadlines was last amended in 1953. Oregonians have been paying property taxes since the 1800s, he said.

Property taxes are due by Nov. 15, but can be paid in three installments: Nov. 15, Feb. 15 and May 15. So, you can basically spread out the pain and overlap the income tax deadline of April 15.

Jackson County Assessor Josh Gibson said a lien is placed on a property as of July 1 for the taxes that are due by Nov. 15.

He said the delay in getting the tax bills out by Oct. 25 has to do with various other deadlines and filing requirements of the Assessor's Office.

The tax statement you receive in the mail is based on information gathered by the assessor in the previous January.

Gibson said he would prefer that there wasn't such a big gap between the time his office calculates its assessments and the time the property owner receives the bill, but, again, state statutes set the rules.

He agreed that paying out such a large amount of money in November can be challenging.

"It is a bad time because you're getting ready for Christmas shopping," he said.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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