An assessor is tasked with establishing the taxable value of real estate. On an annual basis, an assessor will provide the value of properties and parcels within a given area. Another responsibility is to maintain property records that the general public can access. Assessors often visit newly-built homes so they can accurately assess their values. These assessments help local governments project their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. Assessors set taxable values, but they do not collect taxes themselves.
Because assessors work with the public and with taxes, it's important that they have transparency in their reporting. They work diligently to answer taxpayers' questions related to properties. Assessors are expected to maintain accurate records and have rules that establish a cycle when properties are to be physically inspected. Most assessors' offices maintain maps, inventories, and descriptions of real property; most of that information is accessible to citizens through government websites. They also provide tax exemptions for qualified properties.
How often are properties reassessed?
The answer depends on the community. In some communities, properties receive annual statements. But, in many communities, the properties aren't assessed every year. When homes are bought and sold, assessors make an assessment. Otherwise, the physical assessment occurs only periodically.
What if I disagree with an assessment?
Taxable values are established based on local rules and regulations. Every community has different rules for appealing an assessment, and there are assessment-appeal boards. The assessor proposes a value, and the property owner is given time to appeal. It's best to visit your local government assessor's website to view the procedures for appealing an assessment.
What types of property are assessed?
All real property and some types of personal property are assessed. Real property includes land, permanent improvements, buildings, and homes. Personal property includes property may include farm equipment, vehicles, and business assets.