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A valuation update may result in an increase or decrease of individual assessments, but it does not mean that all property tax burdens will increase.
Please remember, assessments are only the base that is used to determine the individual tax burden of each and every taxable property. The overall operating budget, which is the amount that the municipality must raise to operate the local government and support the many services each of us has come to expect such as schools, police, etc. is what truly affects individual property taxes. For example, if the overall operating budget is the same both before and after revaluation and each assessment doubles, the tax rate would merely be cut in half.
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A revaluation is the process of conducting the data collection and market analysis necessary to equalize the values of all properties within a municipality for the purpose of a fair distribution of the tax burden. The purpose of a valuation update is not to raise taxes. The purpose is to create an equitable distribution of the tax load.
A physical inspection of both the interior and exterior of each property is conducted, where building dimensions and characteristics are noted. This is the data collection phase of the project. Each data collector carries an identification badge as well as a letter of introduction on city or town letterhead. Each data collector's car is also registered with the Police Department and Assessors Office.
While the data collection phase is going on, appraisers are studying the real estate transactions that have occurred over the past two years in order to gain a complete understanding of property value in the municipality. When this process is complete, the appraisers can then utilize this market data to help determine the market value of every property in the Municipality.
Once values (otherwise known as assessments) have been determined, each property owner receives an individual notice of the new assessment. Property owners also have the opportunity to review the entire file of assessed values so that they can make comparisons to their own property. If the municipality chooses, this data can be published on the Internet, otherwise the data will be made available at one or more locations.
All property owners are given the opportunity to discuss their values with the appraisal staff at an appointed time which will be publicly announced towards the end of the revaluation. At this meeting, a property owner can voice concerns or discuss inaccuracies or discrepancies with a qualified Appraiser who will review the data and explain the assessment process.
Over time, property values change. However, not all types of properties change at the same rate. Since the assessed value is the basis of the property tax, a valuation update must be undertaken in order to make sure that each parcel of real estate is assessed according to current market value. This ensures that everyone pays their fair share.
There are two very good methods of determining this.
Your value should be in line with these similar properties. Remember, very few properties are exactly alike. Your value should be comparable, but it seldom will be exactly the same as what seems to be a similar property.
Towards the end of the revaluation, every homeowner receives a notice of their proposed valuation based on the analysis performed. These values are not final until the hearings are complete. When a homeowner has a question or concern about the proposed valuation, they are asked to call the firm to schedule a date and time to discuss the valuation process and get answers to any questions the homeowner may have. An informal hearing is not a forum to discuss taxes; it is strictly meant to answer questions on the property valuations.
Homeowners are asked to come prepared with questions and should have already compared their property to other similar sale properties in their neighborhood. Once the meeting is finished, a hearing officer will determine if a review of the property is necessary. Appraisal personnel will review the hearing notes to determine whether a change should be made to the property. All changes to value that occur due to a hearing will be reflected in the change notice that is sent after the hearings are completed.
If any property owner believes the assessment on their property is in excess of its fair market value, they should first notify the Assessor's Office. They may then appeal before the Municipality's Board of Assessment Review, which makes decisions independently from the Assessor's Office. The Board of Assessment Review will review the case and make a determination as to the disposition of the appeal.
Should the property owner still feel the assessment is incorrect, they may appeal to the Superior Court for the judicial district in which the municipality is located.
Market value is the value that your home should be able to sell for as of a specific date. The value is determined by the activity in the real estate market and the general economy. The value of your property is based on an analysis of the entire municipal real estate market for the full two calendar years before the completion of the valuation update.
No. This process does not involve individual visits to each property in town.