The Assessment Process

All tangible property must be taxed on its current market value as of January 1 of each year. The exception is agricultural land.

A property's market value is the price for which it would sell when both buyer and seller want the best price and neither one is under pressure to buy or sell. Land used for farming and ranching is valued on its capacity to produce crops or livestock (agricultural use value) instead of its value on the real estate market.

All property is taxable unless a federal or state law provides an exemption for it. An exemption may exclude all or part of a property's value from taxation.

How is real property valued? State statutes require assessors to annually appraise all property within the county as of January 1. To assure accuracy, uniformity, and low per-parcel costs, the county assessor uses mass appraisal to appraise large numbers of properties. The assessor uses the same valuation methods and standards as any other appraiser would, whether the appraisal is for a mortgage, second mortgage, or ad valorem tax purposes. The cost, market, and income approaches to value are used with the emphasis on each approach depending on the availability of recent property sales, actual cost of construction, and income and expense information.

The market (or sales comparison) approach is most often used and simply asks, "What are properties similar to this property selling for?" The value of your home is an estimate of the price your home would sell for. The assessor compares your home to similar homes that have sold recently and determines your home's value.