Property Tax Basics – St. Joseph County

by Nick Molnar on February 13, 2007

Indiana’s “circuit breaker” legislation is set to limit property tax rates to two percent of the assesed value of a property. This sounds good to home owners, but how does this affect houses in and near South Bend?

St. Joseph County has high tax rates relative to the rest of Indiana. In fact, eight of the twenty highest rate tax districts are in the county. Currently common exemptions like the homestead and mortgage exemptions often bring the tax rate down below “circuit breaker” levels, but many homeowners pay higher rates.

The highest St. Joe County residential property tax bill I could find for 2005 was $39,071.54 for a Deer Run home assesed at $1,187,300 under a 5.3877 rate (with several exemptions). This bill would be $23,746 under the new rules.

Homes assesed at the median South Bend home value of $82,000 would not pay more than $1,640 under these rules.

The circuit breaker rules should mean a lower tax rate for many Indiana homes, but you should still file your exemptions. These ensure you pay the lowest amount you qualify for.

To file, take your closing papers, including your mortgage if you have one, to the County City Building at the address below. Go to the recorder’s office to get your property tax ID number, owner of your loan, loan balance, and recording number. Take this information to the auditor’s office to file your exemptions. You will receive paper receipts. Save these with your closing documents – if the auditor’s office can’t locate a record of your exemptions, you will need these original receipts to prove you filed the exemptions.

The location to file in St Joseph County is:
227 West Jefferson, 2nd Floor. 574-235-9529

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 12, 2007 at 2:16 pm

I have some rental the tax went up 100% of last year wat can we do about it? Do you have $15000 for my tax increase? Help!


Anonymous October 12, 2007 at 2:25 pm

Can we use the circuit breaker for our rentals? That would help us, and help the keep the rents down..


Willie & Terry Smith October 20, 2008 at 1:43 pm

We have several rental properties, can we claim any exemptions? We Live in Illinois in our primary residence but own 5 rentals in South Bend. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Properties locations: 1308 Indiana
1212 Grace St
1203 Grace St
2109 Oliver and 508 Illinois St, all in South Bend.


Nick Molnar October 23, 2008 at 8:11 am

I am neither an accountant nor a tax attorney. That said, you probably don’t qualify for any exemptions, unless the homes have solar power. You can see a more complete list of exemptions

You should pay a lower property tax amount in the coming years based on Indiana’s new “circuit breaker” tax cap, details


Prospective Buyer April 21, 2009 at 9:50 am

I am looking for a house to purchase in South Bend for my daughter who is attending college. Based on the excessive tax rates, it doesn’t seem likely I will be purchasing!! A small 3 bedroom for around $300 per month in taxes alone is insane!!!


Nick Molnar April 22, 2009 at 9:12 am

There are methods to constrain your taxes should you opt to buy, mot notably titling the property in your daughter’s name so she could file a homestead exemption. There are lower tax rates in Clay Township (also near the university), neighborhoods with tax abatements for five years, and other factors that impact tax load. If tax rates are the only thing keeping you from buying, you may be missing some of your alternatives.


Greg June 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Hello – can someone help me out? What are the 2008 tax rates for IN? I have a rental property located at 931/2 Merrill Ct. or just south of St. Patrick’s Park (corner of Auten and Laurel). I believe it’s Clay Township. My property tax increased from $4000 to $5300 or more than 30%. This is roughly 4% of the value without the homeowner’s exemption. Does this seem reasonable? This seems really high to me.


Leave a Comment