Real Property Assessment
Assessment of real and personal property that is entered on the property roll is a continuing process. Land and improvements on the land, such as buildings, are assessed in categories. All property is to be assessed uniformly throughout the state at its market value for assessment purposes.
The assessor is required to have an accurate and complete plat book of land in the county, with ownership records kept up-to-date. Some counties do this by contractual arrangement with the local land title office, which furnishes photocopies of all changes in ownership. Others have deputies in charge of the plats who follow all property transfers and make the necessary changes in the plat books and other assessment records.
Legal descriptions of new and altered taxing districts and maps of new districts and of altered portions of existing districts must be filed with the county assessor, the county recorder and the State Tax Commission within 30 days after the change is effected.
Land valuation is basic in real property appraisal for tax purposes. Periodic revaluation of all property is carried out under rules promulgated by the State Tax Commission. There is constant updating of values of lots and lands that have changed in use since the last complete revaluation with an actual sampling of sales used in estimating current land values.
To ensure that all properties are appraised at current market value for assessment purposes the assessor is to carry out a continuing program of valuation of all properties pursuant to rules prescribed by the State Tax Commission.
In order to promote uniform assessment of property, taxable property must be appraised or indexed annually. To achieve this, each property in the county must be physically reappraised at least once in a five year cycle. This results in a complete appraisal of all property every five years. The results of the annual twenty percent appraisal must be used to index all property not actually appraised to reflect current market values.
The county assessor must maintain records showing when each parcel or item of property was last appraised. The Board of County Commissioners of each county is to furnish the assessor with such additional funds and personnel as may be required to carry out the valuation program and may levy a tax not to exceed four hundredths percent (0.04%) of market value for assessment purposes to pay the costs.
The State Tax Commission prepares and distributes to each county assessor rules which prescribe the manner in which market value for assessment purposes is to be determined for tax purposes. The rules require each assessor to find market value for assessment purposes of all property within the county according to recognized appraisal methods and techniques as set by the Commission, provided that the actual and functional use must be a major consideration when determining market valuation for assessment purposes.
To maximize uniformity and equity in assessment, the rules require, to the extent practicable, the use of reproduction or replacement cost less depreciation as opposed to historic cost less depreciation whenever cost is considered as a single one of the several factors in establishing market value of depreciable property. State law requires that all property subject to assessment shall be assessed for taxation.
The property assessment roll must be completed and delivered to the clerk of the Board of County Commissioners on or before the fourth Monday of June. The clerk must transmit it to the Board of County Commissioners for equalization.
Personal Property Assessment
All personal property is reassessed each year by the assessor’s office. The items included are construction equipment, business furniture, and fixtures, transient personal property such as road building equipment, certain types of manufactured homes and many other categories of personal property not easily located and listed.
The assessor must send a personal property declaration to property owners to use in reporting their personal property for the year. Since the annual date for assessment is on the first day of January, personal property reporting sheets are sent out early in the year, with a March 15 deadline for their return. These reports are supplemented by official spot checks by deputies in the field.
The property roll includes all personal property assessed by the fourth Monday of June and must be delivered to the clerk of the Board of County Commissioners on or before the fourth Monday of June for equalization. Personal property assessed after the fourth Monday of June is included on the subsequent personal property roll and must be delivered for equalization by the fourth Monday of November.