Consumers in Mississippi who purchase homes have more than just monthly mortgage payments to consider. The state levies annual property taxes, and buyers should consider these costs as part of their budgets. Fortunately for homeowners, property taxes in Mississippi are very low compared to other states.

Average Property Taxes in Mississippi

Real estate taxes in Mississippi provide revenue for school districts and for city and county governments. Taxes are due on February 1 each year.

The median annual property tax in Mississippi is $841, which is less than one-half of the national average. The state ranks as the fifth lowest in the nation for property taxes. According to SmartAsset, the average effective tax rate for the state as of 2018 was 0.78%.

Average effective tax rates vary by county and tax district. The low level for property taxes is due to the relatively low home values in the state and to homeowner-friendly rules, such as generous homestead exemptions, that limit taxation of property.

Homeowners in Chickasaw County had the highest effective tax rate of 1.02%. The average annual tax payment on the county's median home value of $60,000 was $613. But the highest taxes, by contrast, were paid in Lafayette County. At an effective tax rate of 0.75%, and a median home value of $163,500, homeowners paid an average of $1,221 in property taxes. 

Residents of Amite County pay median annual property taxes of $369, which is the lowest in the state. This county's low property taxes are due to both its low median home value of $73,100 and its low average effective tax rate of 0.50%. The county with the lowest effective tax rate was Tunica County, at 0.46%. 

Calculating Property Taxes

Mississippi law requires that the county tax assessor appraise the true value of each homeowner's property. The state Tax Commission aids and gives guidance to the local governments in their appraisals of properties. The Tax Commission's ultimate goal is to ensure the state imposes property taxes uniformly and fairly across every municipality.

Local tax authorities determine property tax rates in Mississippi based on their budgetary requirements. Local governments express the tax in terms of millage rates, which is the amount per $1,000 used to calculate taxes.

To calculate a property tax bill, the county takes the true value of a home, as determined by the tax assessor, and multiplies it by an assessment ratio, which yields an assessed value. The assessed value is then multiplied by the local authority's millage rate to determine the amount of property taxes due. The assessment ratio for single-family, owner-occupied, residential real property in Mississippi is 10%, while the state assesses all other real personal property at a rate of 15%. Public utility properties are assessed at 30% of true value.

As an example, a $150,000 home has an assessed value of $15,000 ($150,000 times 10%). If the millage rate is 100, then the property tax bill would be $1,500. The state of Mississippi has a homestead exemption of $300, which is limited to the first $7,500 of assessed value. After applying this homestead exemption, the property tax bill is reduced to $1,200.

A homeowner who disagrees with a property assessment can request a hearing with the county's Board of Supervisors. In addition, the homeowner can file an appeal of an assessment. Homeowners must file appeals by the first Monday in August preceding the due date of the taxes.

Comparing Mississippi Property Taxes to Neighboring States and the Nation

Compared to its neighboring states, property taxes are about average in Mississippi. Alabama residents pay only $550 in annual property taxes, which is about 25% of the national average of $2,197, while people in Tennessee pay $1088 in annual property taxes. Tennessee ranks as the 11th-lowest state for property taxes. Homeowners in Arkansas pay less than $800 in annual property taxes in 68 of the state's 75 counties. Arkansas's average effective property tax rate of 0.63% is the ninth-lowest in the nation. Residents of Louisiana have an average effective rate of 0.51%, which ranks as the third-lowest in the nation. Louisiana residents pay an average of only $750 in annual property taxes.

The Bottom Line 

Property taxes in Mississippi are well below the national average, and are relatively comparable to its neighboring states. This is due, in part, to lower home values as well as homeowner-friendly exemptions that can be applied to lower the overall tax burden. 

Louisiana Property Tax Guide

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