Update: Greg Gianforte Paid Less than $50/Year in Property Taxes on A Prime Five Acre Plot

Earlier this week, we looked at how Greg Gianforte has benefited from improperly designating a five-acre parcel of land in Bozeman as non-qualifying agricultural land. At the time, we noted that meant his property was being valued at an absurdly low rate of $223 while neighboring properties were valued 2700 times more.

And that sleight of hand extends to taxable valuation. While both parcels are listed as Vacant Land Urban in the Department of Revenue’s Property Record cards, the Gianforte parcel, benefiting from its undeserved status as non-qualifying agriculture, provides a much lower property tax for the state, county, and schools.

Over the past five tax years, the five-acre Gianforte plot has had a tax value of $218. Immediately across the street, a 2.85-acre parcel owned by Tontine LLC has had a taxable value of $22,190.

Gianforte 5 Acres
Year Market Value Taxable Value
2012 $290 $50
2013 $290 $50
2014 $290 $50
2015 $223 $34
2016 $223 $34


Tontine LLC 2.85 Acres
Year Market Value Taxable Value
2012 $361,751 $4,027
2013 $345,836 $4,288
2014 $345,836 $4,527
2015 $346,234 $4,674
2016 $346,234 $4,674

While this is certainly an example of a wealthy man hypocritically gaming the system for his own gain, it goes beyond politics and optics. That incorrect valuation has deprived schools in the Bozeman area of funds they deserved, the state of taxes that Mr. Gianforte’s neighbors have paid, and Gallatin County of resources necessary to fund its operations.

Instead of trying to get elected to give himself an $800,000 tax break every year, shouldn’t Mr. Gianforte focus on paying his own taxes first?

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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