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

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 $768, which is less than one-half of the national average. The state ranks as the fifth lowest in the nation for property taxes. 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 Madison County, which is located in central Mississippi, pay the highest property taxes in the state. Madison County has a median home value of $201,200, which is the highest in Mississippi. The county’s median annual property tax is $1,382.

Residents of Jones County pay median annual property taxes of $600, which is the lowest in the state. This county's low property taxes are due to both its low median home value of $85,000 and its low average effective tax rate of 0.69%.

Comparing Neighboring States

Compared to its neighboring states, property taxes in Mississippi are about average. Residents of Alabama pay only $528 in annual property taxes, which is about 25% of the national average of $2,107, while residents of Tennessee pay $1024 in annual property taxes. Tennessee ranks as the ninth-lowest state for property taxes. Homeowners in Arkansas pay less than $800 in annual property taxes in 70 of the state's 75 counties. Arkansas's average effective property tax rate of 0.60% is the eighth-lowest in the nation. Residents of Louisiana have an average effective rate of 0.46%, which ranks as the third-lowest in the nation. Louisiana residents pay an average of only $600 in annual property taxes.

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 that 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.

Louisiana Property Tax Guide

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