LINCOLN – During the recent legislative session, Governor Pete Ricketts signed three bills to provide Nebraskans with additional property tax relief.
- LB103 protects Nebraskans from automatic tax hikes when property values go up.
- LB294, the mainline appropriations bill for 2019-2021, increases the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund by $51 million per year.
- LB512 ensures that damages from natural disasters are taken into account when assessing property for tax purposes.
More information about each of these bills can be found below.
LB103: Ends Automatic Property Tax Hikes
The Governor signed LB103 to give Nebraskans greater insight and input into proposed property tax increases. The bill requires taxing entities—like school districts, cities, and counties—to hold a public hearing and vote before they can raise property taxes. Previously, as property valuations went up, property taxes would often soar higher and higher—even as tax rates remained the same. This meant Nebraskans paid more in property taxes without ever debating or approving the increased amount.
With LB103 signed into law, Nebraskans will now receive public notice whenever a political subdivision (such as a school district, city, or county) wants to increase its property tax receipts.
“Nebraskans deserve to be fully informed, and to have a fair say, before they pay more in property taxes,” said Governor Ricketts. “This bill adds much-needed transparency and accountability to the property taxation process.”
The Legislature passed LB103 47-0-2, and it is already in effect as law.
LB294: Adds $51 Million Annually to the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund
LB294 includes the Governor’s recommendation to add $51 million annually to the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund in the 2019-21 budget. This represents a 23% increase for a total of $275 million in property tax relief per year for Nebraskans.
“The key to delivering real, sustainable property tax relief is to control spending,” said Governor Ricketts. “The State budget limits spending increases to less than 3%, while raising the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund by 23%. Over the last five years, Senators and I have successfully worked together to nearly double the amount of direct relief to Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and homeowners.”
Taxpayers will see the additional relief when their property tax statements are sent out in December 2019.
LB512: Accounts for Disaster Damage to Property
LB512 provides property tax relief to Nebraskans who suffer damage to real property as a result of a natural disaster such as a flood, fire, or tornado. Under normal circumstances, property is assessed for tax purposes on January 1 each year. However, LB512 allows taxpayers to report property damage occurring after January 1 and before July 1 in order to obtain a revised assessment that takes the damage into account. So long as the damage exceeds 20% of the assessed value for the current tax year, the property’s value will be lowered to reflect the damage.
“In March, Nebraskans experienced the most widespread natural disaster in state history,” said Governor Ricketts. “LB 512 will help Nebraskans who are working to get back on their feet as the state rebuilds bigger and better than ever before.”
The Legislature passed LB512 without opposition, and it is now in effect.
Nebraskans who have experienced significant property damage due to a natural disaster in 2019 should fill out a Report of Destroyed Real Property. This report, Form 425, is available by clicking here and must be completed by July 15, 2019.