Notice of Assessment
The Notice of Assessment, Taxable Valuation and Property Classification is mailed to every property owner on an annual basis in February.
How to Read Your Change of Assessment Notice
Many taxpayers may be inclined to simply set this notice aside as it clearly states at the top of the form, in dark bold letters THIS IS NOT A TAX BILL. However, it is important to read this notice because it shows a property’s Taxable Value for the year.
The notice explains how the numbers on the form were calculated, your rights as a taxpayer to appeal, how to communicate with the Assessor and the dates when the Board of Review will be meeting to hear appeals.
The first table on the form shows the exemptions to taxation for which the property qualifies. It is important to make sure any exemptions are listed appropriately especially if a property has been recently purchased because, although rare, sometimes paperwork is not properly filed after a real estate sale closing. If the property is a principal residence, the resident exemption should be 100 percent (or the appropriate percentage if multi-family residence).
The second table in the center of the page shows the classification of your property. Your Property Classification is a descriptor given by Assessors for purposes of Equalization and does not affect the way you use the property.
The next table is the most important and also where property owners get most confused:
Taxable Value is the number to pay the most attention to. It is the value to which the millage rate will be applied. The taxable value can only increase at the rate of inflation established for the year or 5 percent, whichever is lower. So unless you have made significant improvements to the property in the last year, the rate will only go up that much. The increase is referred to as the “inflation rate multiplier” and set by the State Tax Commission. Read carefully, in the description just below the table, to see the current rate. If there has been a change of ownership in the last year the taxable value will reset and become “uncapped” and will be the same as the assessed value shown in the table. However, next year, the cap will go back on and the taxable value can only increase as described above.
The Assessed Value and State Equalized Value (SEV) are essentially the same. Assessed Value is 50 percent of market value and the SEV is the Assessed Value multiplied by an equalization factor. After the Assessed Value is reviewed and approved by the County and State, and an equalization factor is applied, if needed, the Assessed Value becomes the SEV. An equalization factor is used to help equalize inequities in assessments across local governments. The SEVs do not have a cap and will rise and fall with the market.
The amount in the CHANGE column does NOT reflect the change in tax dollars for current year. The CHANGE column is simply the difference between the previous year values and the current year values.