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Assessor FAQs

All property may be divided into two major categories: Real Property and Personal Property.

Real Property is generally defined as land and all things attached to the land. Interest, benefits, and rights inherent in the ownership of physical real estate.

Personal Property which consists of movable items not permanently affixed to, or part of, the real estate. This includes furniture and fixtures, machinery and equipment belonging to a business; certain public utilities; structures on leased land and other similar properties.

Assessed Value is 50% of estimated fair market value which is determined by the City Assessor.  Assessed values change with the market year to year.  The assessor does not create value, but simply has the legal responsibility to determine it and value the property accordingly.

In 1994 Proposal A brought significant changes to the State’s Property Tax System.  However, Proposal A did not change standard assessment practices; all real and personal property must still be assessed at 50% of its true cash value.  Proposal A created a different value (taxable value) for property taxes to be calculated on.  Taxes are based on taxable value not state equalized value (SEV).  Proposal A also requires homeowners to file a Principal Residence Exemption Affidavit and Property Transfer Affidavit.

Taxable value was created by the passage of Proposal A in 1994. Property taxes are based on taxable value, not the SEV. Taxable value = Lesser of assessed value or capped value.

Capped value is the lesser of +5% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) applied to prior year’s taxable value.  The formula to compute is: (Prior year’s taxable value – losses) x (5% or CPI, whichever is lowest) + additions = capped value.  The process continues until there is change in ownership (transfer) which would cause an “uncapping”.

When ownership is transferred on a property, the valuation is “uncapped”. The SEV is the new starting point for a buyer and the capping process starts all over again on the property until another transfer of ownership occurs.  Beginning December 31, 2013 (PA 497 of 2012), the transfer of residential real property (homestead or non-homestead) is exempt from uncapping if the transferor by blood or affinity to the first degree and the use of the property does not change following the transfer of ownership. A change in use would be from principal residence to rental, which would not be exempt from uncapping due to a transfer.  Affinity to the first degree includes the following relationships: spouse, father or mother, father or mother of spouse, son or daughter, including adopted children, son or daughter of spouse, and stepchildren, stepmother or stepfather.

(Taxable value/1000 x millage rate) x 1.01 (administrative fee) = tax amount

If you purchased your house in a different year than your neighbor, your taxable value would have been uncapped to the same as the SEV.  Although you think your home is the same as your neighbors; there are many interior and exterior attributes that affect a property’s value such as lot size differences, year built, condition, finished basements, decks, number of bathrooms, etc.

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