|Tuck says higher appraisals don’t mean higher taxes |
|When Weakley County residents received their recent property appraisals, many were shocked to see an increase in appraised value of their property. |
“The recent reappraisals do not necessarily mean an increase in property taxes,” Weakley County Assessor of Property David Tuck said.
“In fact, the preliminary certified tax rates obtained from the State Board of Equalization normally reflect a decrease — as in the 2002 reappraisal — dropping from $2.44 in 2001 to $2.11 in 2002.”
Under state law, real property must be reappraised every 6 years to reflect its current market value. This is the sixth year of the cycle and reappraisals have been issued.
“Because property values increase, the certified tax rate has to be lowered, according to state law. The county commission can increase the certified tax rate, but they can do so only after a public hearing is held,” Tuck said.
Four factors determine the property tax bill:
• Appraisal — the fair market value of the property (what it would bring if sold on the open market);
• Classification — whether the property is used for residential, commercial, industrial or farm purposes (this determines what percentage of the appraised value becomes the assessed value);
• Assessment — a figure determined by multiplying the classification percentage against the appraised value and
• Tax rate — the dollar rate set by the county commission, which is applied to an assessment in order to calculate the property tax amount.
“The office of assessor of property uses appraisal methods that are the professional standard to estimate the market value of each property,” Tuck said.
“Factors such as age, size, location and condition will figure into the assessment of value,” Tuck added.
His office also investigates all building permits issued by the county and the cities, which enable them to see the cost of improvements. Through computer models, they can determine current building costs and estimate what it would cost to replace a structure on a property.
“There is a difference in appraised value and assessed value and sometimes it creates confusion,” he said. “Appraised value is an estimate of market value. Assessed value is a fractional amount of the appraised. The assessed value — not the appraised value — is used to determine the tax bill.”
Tuck also said that the assessment notice is not a tax bill. The trustee calculates the tax bill, after the tax rate is set by the county commission and the assessments are finalized by the County Board of Equalization. The bill is usually mailed in late September or early October.
Property owners with agricultural, forest or open space land may be eligible for relief under what is commonly known as the Greenbelt Law. This law allows certain land to be taxed based on its present use instead of market value. The “Use Value” appraisal will usually be less than the “Market Value” appraisal.
Property owners should contact the county assessor of property for assistance in filling out a Greenbelt application.
State law also provides property tax relief to homeowners 65 or older, or permanently and totally disabled homeowners and certain disabled veterans (must be 100 percent combat related). Property owners should contact the county trustee for details on the Property Tax Relief Program after Oct. 1, 2008.
If someone disagrees with the value set for their property, they have the right to have it reviewed and, if it is incorrect, having it adjusted without filing a formal appeal.
The key to success is to present any recent documentation — such as an individual fee appraisal or an insurance appraisal — to support the homeowner’s opinion.
To discuss a property appraisal, call (731) 364-3208. To discuss taxes, contact a county commissioner. After June 1, 2008, property owners can call the office of the property assessor to schedule an appointment to appeal an appraisal to the local Board of Equalization.