Who is the assessor?†† The assessor is the government official responsible for establishing the value of real property and personal property for the purpose of taxation.
What is the role of the assessor?† The role of the Assessorís office is to establish a value for all property for tax purposes.† The Assessor is required by law to set that value and to assure that all values are in equalization.†
What are property taxes?††††† Property taxes are funds generated by taxing the value of real estate, personal property, and motor vehicles.
Who pays them?†††††††† All owners of taxable real estate, personal property, and motor vehicles located within the state. This includes businesses, farmers, and individuals.
Who collects them?††† The county treasurer collects property taxes and distributes them to local subdivisions of government, according to their budgets.
What are they used for?††††††† Property taxes are used entirely to support local subdivisions of government and are a major source of funding for their operation. Taxes help fund essential services such as education, fire and police protection, streets, sewers, county roads and bridges, senior citizen transportation, natural resource districts, parks and recreational areas, and many other local services.
How are they determined?††† The county assessor sets values for individual properties and determines total valuations for each subdivision within the county. The county board sets the tax rate based on the value and budget of each subdivision. These tax rates are then used in preparing your tax statement.
Why do they increase every year?††† As the cost of providing services increases, the subdivisions may increase their budgets and likewise their property tax requirements. Control over the spending of property taxes lies with the taxpayers participation in the governing process by attending budget hearings and becoming fully informed as to how the tax dollars are being spent. In this manner, each taxpayer can be involved in determining the spending priorities of local government.
How do property value increases affect my taxes?†† Property taxes do not increase proportionately to valuation increases. If budget requests increase modestly, then tax rates and tax dollars often increase modestly.
What does my valuation represent?† †† The market value of your property as of the first of January 1st.
How does the assessor arrive at this valuation?†† By using mass appraisal techniques including the cost, income, and sales comparison approach to value (market value).
How do I know when my valuation has changed?††† The assessor must notify you by mail around the first of June if your valuation has increased or decreased from the previous year.
What causes my valuation to change?† Changes in the physical makeup of your property, such as additions, remodeling, or new buildings will impact your valuation. Changes in the marketplace can also affect your valuation. A reappraisal in your county may also result in your valuation changing.
How do I contest my valuation?†† First, contact the assessorís office and have them explain to you how your value was arrived at. This will give the assessor a chance to correct possible errors and answer your valuation-related questions.† You may file an appeal of your valuation with the county board of equalization during the dates prescribed on your valuation notice. You may appeal your valuation only, not your tax bill.
How do I convince the county board of equalization that my valuation should be lowered?† Present evidence that the assessor has valued your property above itís market value or is not equalized with similar properties in the county.
What if I disagree with the county boardís determination?† You may file an appeal to the Tax Equalization and Review Commission.