Overview of Alabama Taxes
Alabama has some of the lowest property taxes in the country. While property taxes in the state serve as an important source of revenue for local governments, public services and education, the average Alabama homeowner pays just $609 per year in property taxes. That's about a quarter of the national average of $2,578.
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To calculate the exact amount of property tax you will owe requires your property's assessed value and the property tax rates based on your property's address. Please note that we can only estimate your property tax based on median property taxes in your area. There are typically multiple rates in a given area, because your state, county, local schools and emergency responders each receive funding partly through these taxes. In our calculator, we take your home value and multiply that by your county's effective property tax rate. This is equal to the median property tax paid as a percentage of the median home value in your county.
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Jennifer Mansfield Tax
Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
How Alabama Property Taxes Work
Alabama property taxes are due on Oct. 1 of each year and any taxes unpaid as of Dec. 31 are considered delinquent. Taxes are based on property’s value, although actual millage rates apply to “assessed” value, which varies depending on the primary use of the property.
For residential property, the assessed value is 10% of the appraised, or market, value. So, for example, a home with an appraised value of $200,000 would have an assessed value of $20,000 (10% of $200,000). If that home was subject to a total property tax rate of 30 mills, the total annual property tax would be $600 ($20,000 x [30 / 1000]).
If you’re considering becoming a homeowner in Alabama or are looking into refinancing a property there, check out our Alabama mortgage guide for important information about getting mortgages and details about mortgage rates in the Yellowhammer State.
A financial advisor in Alabama can help you understand how homeownership can fit into your overall financial goals. Financial advisors can help with investing and financial plans, including taxes, homeownership, retirement and more, to make sure you are preparing for the future.
Alabama Property Tax Rates
Property tax rates are represented in “mills,” a unit equal to one tenth of a percent (so 1% equals 10 mills). Total rates vary depending on the location of the property. For 2020, the statewide millage is 6.5, along with local rates charged by counties, school districts and municipalities. Additionally, there are some exemptions that may reduce your total property tax burden.
Because of these variations between mill rates at the local level and the exemptions available to homeowners, it is easier to compare locations by looking at effective property tax rates. Effective property tax rates are the median amount of property taxes actually paid each year as a percentage of the median home value. The table below shows the effective tax rates for every county in Alabama.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
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The largest county in Alabama, Jefferson County also has some the highest property taxes in the state (although they are still relatively low in comparison with the rest of the country). The countywide, base millage rate is 28.2. This includes 6.5 mills that go to the state fund, 5.6 mills that go to Jefferson County’s general fund, 7.9 mills that go to things like roads, bridges and sewers and another 8.2 mills that go to schools across the county.
On top of those countywide rates, there are additional rates that vary by school district and the city in which your home is located. Local school district property taxes in Jefferson county range from 5.4 mills in District 52 (Bessemer) up to 34.1 in District 17 (Mt. Brook). Most districts in the county have a millage rate of 21.9. Along with the 8.2 mill countywide school district property tax, these taxes go directly to support local schools.
Some municipalities in Jefferson County also collect their own property taxes. In Birmingham, which is the largest city in the county, as well as the state, the municipal millage rate is 28.5. That means the total rate, including those listed above, is 78.6. That’s equal to 7.86%, but that applies to assessed value, which is just 10% of actual market value. That means effective property tax rates in Birmingham are closer to 0.75%.
If you have questions about how property taxes can affect your overall financial plans, a financial advisor in Birmingham can help you out.
The average homeowner in Mobile County pays $696 annually in property taxes, the fifth-highest average payment in the state. Of course, actual payments depend on your home value and where you live. Property tax millage rates in the county begin at 44.5. That includes amounts that go toward the general fund, roads and bridges, hospitals and schools.
There are additional school millage rates which vary depending on location. Inside Mobile and Pritchard, the additional millage is 12.0, while outside those two cities, the additional millage is just 4.0. Lastly, there are additional city property taxes in 10 Mobile County cities. In Mobile city, the municipal rate is 7.0, which brings the total millage rate for residents of Mobile city to 63.5.
Total property taxes in Madison County range from 37 mills in rural areas (those that are not a part of any municipality) to 58.0 mills in Huntsville. About one-third of county property taxes go to schools, with rates varying based on district. In District 1, which includes all areas outside of Huntsville, the school millage rate is 16.0. In District 2, which includes Huntsville, the school millage rate is 21.0 (that's included in the total millage of 58 listed above).
Total property taxes in Montgomery County vary depending on the local school district and any city rates. Property tax rates begin at 14.0 mills countywide, including state rates. For homeowners outside the city of Montgomery, there is an additional tax of 5.0 mills for fire protection (except for Pike Road). However, Montgomery also collects a municipal tax of 12.5 mills.
There are four school districts in Montgomery County. Each district adds 10 mills to the total rate.
Shelby County is the fifth-largest county in Alabama. The median home value there is $204,500 and the median annual property tax payment is $1,050. That’s the highest mark of any county in the state, but it's still lower than the national average, which is $2,578.
Countywide property tax rates begin at 30.0 mills (including state rates). There are additional school district property taxes of 14.0 mills outside of Hoover, Birmingham and Vestavia Hills. In Hoover, the school district tax is 6.0 mills.
Additional city taxes can be as high as 49.3 mills in Vestavia Hills. That means the total property tax millage rate in Shelby County can be as high as 79.3 mills.
Home to the city of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa County collects property taxes to fund education, infrastructure projects and other local services. Total property tax rates range from 32.5 mills in rural areas to 51.5 mills in the city of Tuscaloosa.
The median annual property tax payment in Baldwin County is just $583, about one-fifth of the U.S. mark for annual property taxes. The county has an average effective property tax rate (property taxes as a percentage of market value) of about 0.31%.
Actual property tax rates in the county are based on assessed value (10% of market value), with millage rates ranging from 26.0 in the rural areas of District 1 up to 43.0 in the city of Fairhope.
Lee County has some of the highest property taxes in Alabama, although taxes are still relatively low in relation to the rest of the U.S. Lee County homeowners pay a median of $854 annually in property taxes.
Property tax rates in Lee County vary between cities and the rest of the county. In the two largest cities, Auburn and Opelika, the total property tax rate is 54.0 mills. In Phenix, the rate is 60.0 mills. In Notasulga, Waverly and Smiths Station, the rate is 46.0 mills. In the rest of the county, it's 41.0 mills.
The base property tax rate in Morgan County is 37.4 mills. Residents of four cities pay higher rates, however. Decatur has the highest property tax rate in the state at 45.3 mills. It is followed by Falkville and Trinity at 42.4 mills each. In Hartselle, the rate is 39.4 mills.
The median annual property tax payment in Calhoun County is $478. Property tax rates range from 44.0 mills in rural areas in the northern part of the county up to 51.5 mills in Anniston. In Oxford and Jacksonville, the rate is 47.5 mills.
Places Receiving the Most Value for Their Property Taxes
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places across the country where property tax dollars are being spent most effectively. Zoom between states and the national map to see the counties getting the biggest bang for their property tax buck.
Our study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most value for their property tax dollars. To do this, we looked at property taxes paid, school rankings and the change in property values over a five-year period.
First, we used the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate to calculate a per capita property tax collected for each county.
As a way to measure the quality of schools, we analyzed the math and reading/language arts proficiencies for every school district in the country. We created an average score for each district by looking at the scores for every school in that district, weighting it to account for the number of students in each school. Within each state, we assigned every county a score between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on the average scores of the districts in each county.
Then, we calculated the change in property tax value in each county over a five-year period. Places where property values rose by the greatest amount indicated where consumers were motivated to buy homes, and a positive return on investment for homeowners in the community.
Finally, we calculated a property tax index, based on the criteria above. Counties with the highest scores were those where property tax dollars are going the furthest.