Overview of Alaska Taxes
Many cities, towns and boroughs in Alaska do not levy any property tax. However, the largest cities, including Anchorage, do collect property tax. In fact, on average property taxes in Alaska are higher than the national average property tax. The average effective property tax rate in the state is 1.23%, compared to the national average of 1.19%.
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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.
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Alaska Property Taxes
The average effective property tax rate in the state is 1.23%, compared to the national average of 1.19%. Homeowners in Alaska benefit from the state’s otherwise taxpayer-friendly environment. There are no income taxes in the state and full-time state residents receive an annual dividend check from the state’s “permanent fund.” In recent years the dividend has ranged from $800 to over $2,000, effectively offsetting some or most of the property taxes paid by Alaskan homeowners. If you’re looking into purchasing a home in Alaska or are interested in a refinance, check our Alaska mortgage guide for details on mortgages in the Last Frontier.
How Property Taxes in Alaska Work
Property taxes in Alaska are administered entirely at the local level. Boroughs (the equivalent of counties) and cities assess property values and apply rates to fund local government functions and school districts. 15 of Alaska’s 19 boroughs and unified cities levy a property tax, compared with just 21 of Alaska’s 143 cities.
Value is assessed based on a property’s market value. While the municipality assigns all property a value every year, the local assessor is only required to visit a property for appraisal once every six years. Homeowners who feel that their assessed value is incorrect have just 30 days to file an appeal with the local Board of Equalization. Supporting evidence must be filed within 45 days.
There are a number of property tax exemptions available in some Alaska municipalities. These exemptions lower your assessed value and therefore the amount of taxes you have to pay. For example, in Anchorage, senior citizens can claim an exemption on up to $150,000 of their assessed value, which substantially reduces their annual tax bill.
Alaska Property Tax Rates
Alaska property tax rates are recalculated each year after all property has been assessed. Tax rates are based on the total value of property and the amount of revenue needed to maintain government budgets.
Tax rates in Alaska are calculated as “mills.” A mill is equal to $1 of tax for every $1,000 in assessed value. So, for example, if your home is worth $100,000 and your total mill rate is 30, your tax will be $3,000.
The table below shows tax rates and average annual payments for all Alaska municipalities that collect property tax. It shows the average effective tax rate. The effective tax rate is what they actually pay as a percentage of home value, taking into account all exemptions.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
|Aleutians East Borough||$118,500||$200||0.17%|
|Aleutians West Census Area||$218,400||$2,659||1.22%|
|Bethel Census Area||$189,600||$200||0.11%|
|Bristol Bay Borough||$175,000||$1,805||1.03%|
|Dillingham Census Area||$194,000||$2,451||1.26%|
|Fairbanks North Star||$212,500||$2,807||1.32%|
|Kenai Peninsula Borough||$204,900||$1,524||0.74%|
|Ketchikan Gateway Borough||$265,600||$2,180||0.82%|
|Lake Peninsula Borough||$136,400||$200||0.15%|
|North Slope Borough||$154,600||$2,104||1.36%|
|Northwest Arctic Borough||$131,000||$1,656||1.26%|
|Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area||$162,500||$1,200||0.74%|
|Valdez-Cordova Census Area||$177,700||$2,001||1.13%|
|Wade Hampton Census Area||$109,300||$200||0.18%|
|Wrangell City Borough||$157,400||$938||0.60%|
|Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area||$106,500||$700||0.66%|
Anchorage Property Taxes
The city of Anchorage is home to roughly 40% of Alaska’s total population. It also has the highest property taxes in the state. The total mill rate in Anchorage is generally about 15 mills, varying somewhat depending on where in the city you live. That means, without claiming any exemptions, homeowners in Anchorage would pay a property tax rate of 1.5%, well above the national average.
Here’s the good news: Anchorage offers its residents a number of significant property tax exemptions:
- The Senior Citizen Exemption is worth up to $150,000 of the assessed value and can be claimed by residents who are 65 years of age or older and who own and live in the home as their primary residence. Homeowners paying the mill rate of 15 mills and receiving the full exemption would save $2,250 annually.
- The Disabled Veteran Exemption is also worth up to $150,000 of assessed value. It can be claimed by disabled veterans or by Anchorage residents who are at least 60 years old and the widow or widower of a disabled veteran.
- The Residential Exemption is equal to 10% of assessed value, up to a maximum of $20,000 per year. It can be claimed for owner-occupied, primary residences in Anchorage.
Other exemptions include the Military Service Widow/Widower Exemption and the Fire Protection Exemption. In total, these exemptions alleviate some of the property tax burden of Anchorage residents. For that reason the actual average effective property tax rate in the city is 1.36%. That is still highest in the state, but lower than the 1.5% rate mentioned above.
Fairbanks North Star
The Fairbanks North Star Borough, which contains the city of Fairbanks, has slightly lower property taxes on average than the city of Anchorage. The borough-wide average effective property tax rate in Fairbanks North Star is 1.32% and the typical homeowner in the borough pays about $2,807 annually in property taxes.
In the city of Fairbanks, however, property taxes are higher. The total mill rate in the city is 16.9 mills, which translates to an effective tax rate of 1.69% if you do not claim any property tax exemptions.
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough sits north of Anchorage and stretches all the way to Denali State Park. The average effective property tax rate in Matanuska-Susitna Borough is 1.19%, slightly lower than the state average.
Both the borough and several cities within the borough, including Palmer and Houston, levy property taxes. Total mill rates in the borough range from 11.082 to 19.302 mills.
Kenai Peninsula Borough
The Kenai Peninsula Borough sits on Alaska’s Cook Inlet, encompassing both the Kenai Peninsula and the land across the inlet. The Borough has significantly lower property taxes than Alaska’s other most-populated boroughs.
The average effective property tax rate in the Kenai Peninsula Borough is just 0.74%, a little over half that in Anchorage. The typical annual real estate tax payment in the borough is $1,524.
Juneau City and Borough
Juneau is the capital city of Alaska, but is reachable only by plane or boat from the rest of the state. The city is hemmed in by the Coast Mountains, which limits the amount of space in the city. For that reason, property values – and property taxes – are relatively high.
The median home value in Juneau is $309,900 and the typical homeowner pays $2,914 annually in property taxes. That is about $800 more than the U.S. average.
Property Tax: Which Counties are Getting the Best Bang for Their Buck
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 for their property tax dollars. To do this we looked at school rankings, crime rates and property taxes for every county.
As a way to measure the quality of schools, we calculated the average math and reading/language arts proficiencies for all the school districts in the country. Within each state, these schools were then ranked between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on those average scores.
For each county, we calculated the violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Using the school and crime numbers, we calculated a community score. This is the ratio of the school rank to the combined crime rate per 100,000 residents.
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.
Finally, we calculated a tax value by creating a ratio of the community score to the per capita property tax paid. This shows us the counties in the country where people are getting the most bang for their buck, or where their property tax dollars are going the furthest.
Sources: US Census Bureau 2016 American Community Survey, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Police or Justice Department websites