To find the value of any piece of property the assessor must first know what properties similar to it are selling for, what it would cost today to replace it, how much it takes to operate and keep it in repair, what rent it may earn, and many other dollar facts affecting its value, such as the current rate of interest charged for borrowing the money to buy or build properties like yours.
Using these facts, the assessor can then go about finding the property's value in three different ways.
The first method compares your property to others that have sold recently. These prices, however, must be analyzed very carefully to get the true picture. One property may have sold for more than it was really worth because the buyer was in a hurry and would pay any price. Another may have sold for less money than it was actually worth because the owner needed cash right away. The property was sold to the first person who made an offer.
When using the sales comparison approach, the assessor must always consider such overpricing or underpricing and analyze many sales to arrive at a fair valuation of your property. Size, quality, condition, location, and time of sale are also important factors to consider.
A second way to value your property is based on how much money it would take, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property with one similar. If your property is not new, the assessor must also determine how much it has depreciated. In addition, the assessor must estimate how much a lot like yours would be worth if vacant.
The third way is to evaluate how much income your property would produce if it were rented as an apartment house, a store, or a factory. The assessor must consider operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and the return most people would expect on your kind of property.
A property’s value can change for many reasons. The most obvious is that the property changes. A bedroom, garage, or swimming pool is added, or part of the property is destroyed by flood or fire. The most frequent cause of a change in value is a change in the market. If a town’s major industry leaves, property values can collapse. As decaying neighborhoods with good housing stock are discovered by young homebuyers, prices gradually rise, and then may soar as the neighborhood becomes fashionable. A shortage of detached houses in a desirable city neighborhood can send prices to ridiculous levels. In a recession, larger homes may stay on the market for a long time, but more affordable homes are in demand, so their prices rise. In a stable neighborhood, with no extraordinary pressure from the market, inflation may increase property value.
When market value changes, naturally so does assessed value. For instance, if you were to add a garage to your home, the assessed value would increase. However, if your property is in poor repair, the assessed Value would decrease. The assessor has not created the value. People make value by their transactions in the market place. For instance, if you were to add a garage to your home, the value would increase. However, if your property is in poor repair, the value would decrease. The assessor has not created the value. The assessor simply has the legal responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.
If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessor’s, by all means come to our office and discuss the matter. Staff will be glad to answer your questions about the appraisal and explain how to appeal if you cannot come to an agreement. The assessor’s office relies on the property owner for information. You can help by providing accurate information. If you feel taxes are too high, you should make your opinion known to the proper taxing authorities. Ask about your eligibility for special exemptions.
Each year during the last part of August and the first of September the assessment rolls are open for inspection and for discussion of the assessment with the assessor's office. This is the time to discuss your assessment. It also is the time that the taxpayer can legally file a protest to the assessment if we cannot settle our differences as to assessment. Several taxpayers wait until the tax bill is sent around the first of December to discuss their assessment. We will discuss your assessment at that time but you cannot legally file a protest at that time.
The Homestead Application should be filed between January 1 and December 31 for each year. After a homestead is filed the homestead remains permanent for that property unless there is a change in ownership or if the homeowner no longer resides in the house. If you move you need to notify our homestead department that you no longer qualify for that homestead. If you move to a new home and qualify for homestead you may notify us when you come into our office to file for new homestead.
The additional homestead applies if you qualify for homestead (own and occupy) and you are 100% service related disabled. You must get a form from the Veterans Administration that states you are 100% disabled. You can then qualify for up to $75,000 additional homestead if you meet these qualifications.
A Special Assessment level applies to the homestead of persons 65 and older if they have made less than $71,562.52 in adjusted gross income. This special assessment level freezes the assessed value at the current level. To qualify, you must file the specified form. This form can be obtained by visiting the 'Forms' page or coming into our office. You also must bring in proof of income for the previous year, Income Tax Return if you file an Income Tax Return or the Social Security Benefits Earnings Statement if you are not required to file a return. This Special Assessment Level is lost if the property is transferred or improvements are made in excess of 25% of property value. The freeze is permanent unless one of the previously mentioned reasons for losing this freeze occurs. The surviving spouse can qualify if they are over 55 and meets the other qualifications of the exemption.
A Special Assessment level can apply to the homestead of persons that are disabled if they have made less than $71,562.52 in adjusted gross income. You can qualify for the disability freeze if you are 100% disabled for Social Security disability or 50% disabled Veteran for service related disability. This special assessment level freezes the assessed value at the current level. To qualify you must come into our office and file a special form. You also must bring in proof of income for the previous year, Income Tax Return if you file an Income Tax Return or the Social Security Benefits Earnings Statement if you are not required to file a return. This Special Assessment Level is lost if the property is transferred or improvements are made in excess of 25% of property value. You must bring in a statement from the Social Security stating you are 100% disabled or a statement from the Veterans Administration stating that you are 50% service related disability. This assessment level freeze has to be applied for each year and is not permanent like the senior level freeze.
In Louisiana the classification of property subject to ad valorem taxation and the percentage of fair market value applicable to each classification for the purpose of determining assessed value is as follows:
|2. Improvements for Residential(including apartments)||10%|
|3. Improvements for Commercial||15%|
|4. Business Movable Property(Personal)||15%|
|5. Public Service(excluding land)||25%|
Bona fide agricultural, horticultural, marsh and timber lands as defined by Revenue Statues shall be assessed for tax purposes at 10% of use value rather than market value. These values are set by Louisiana Tax Commission.
Millage is the percentage of value that is used in calculating taxes. A mill is defined as 1/10 of 1 percent and is multiplied by the assessed value after any exemptions have been subtracted to calculate the taxes. For example, if the tax rate is 150 mills and the total assessed value is 10,000 with no exemptions, the taxes would be calculated as $10,000 x .150 = $1500.00. If for the same house, you had a homestead exemption would be calculated as (10,000 - 7,500) x .150 = $375.00 in taxes. These examples demonstrate the importance of signing up for homestead, if applicable.
Adjudicated property is a property that was offered but not sold at the annual tax sale, and therefore the parish and/or city has acquired a tax interest in the property. If specific procedures are followed, Louisiana law allows the governmental body to sell their tax interest in the property. The buyer will be able to take possession and may be able to take further action to perfect the title in their favor to the property.
Finding Adjudicated Property is only possible online by referring to the information available to CPTA Professional Search Subscribers or by a physical visit to the Caddo Parish Assessor's office in the Courthouse. (Sorry, the information cannot be given out over the telephone.) You will need the street address, geog number or assessment description of the property you are interested in purchasing.
Many of this area's real estate agents, title companies, attorneys and appraisers are subscribers to the CPTA Professional Search SubscriptionEntity.
To find out more information about purchasing adjudicated property visit www.caddo.org/index.aspx?NID=236