What the Assessor’s Office Does not do:
The Assessor does not raise or lower taxes. The assessor does not make the laws which affect property owners. The Constitution of the State of Arkansas, was adopted by the voters, provides the basic framework for taxation, and tax laws are made by the Arkansas Legislature. The rules and regulations for assessment are set by the Arkansas Assessment Coordination Division. The tax dollars are levied by the taxing bodies, such as school districts, county roads, etc. and are collected by the collector’s office. The assessor’s office has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes collected. The assessor’s primary responsibility is to find the “Fair Market Value” of your property so that you may pay only your fair share of the taxes. The amount of taxes you pay is determined by a “Millage Rate” applied to your properties assessed value.
The millage rate is the basis for the budget needed on demand by the voters to provide for services such as schools, roads, law enforcement, etc. Millage rates are simply those rates which will provide funds to pay for those services.
Q-How is your assessment determined?
A- To arrive at “Fair Market Value” for your property, the assessor must know what “willing sellers” and “willing buyers” are doing in the market place. The Assessor must also keep current on cost of construction in the area and any changes in zoning, financing, and economic conditions which may affect property values. The assessor uses the three nationally recognized appraisal approaches to value, those being cost, income, and market. This data is then correlated into a final value estimated by the appraiser. After your appraisal has been made, the appropriate percentage of value required by law is calculated as your “assessed value.
Q- What is Fair Market Value?
A- “Fair Market Value” is the price for property which would be agreed upon between a willing and informed buyer and a willing informed seller under usual and ordinary circumstances: it shall be the highest price estimated in terms of money which property will bring if exposed for sale on the open market with reasonable time allowed to find a purchaser who is buying with knowledge of all the uses and purposes to which the property is best adapted and for which it can be legally used.
Q- How are taxes calculated?
A- Taxes are based on millages, bond issues, and fees that have been voted by registered voters in the various districts which have been established by the Legislature or Constitution. The tax monies collected for the districts go to pay for schools, roads, law enforcement, and other services that the taxpayers demand and desire from local government. To calculate the taxes on your property, you take the assessed value, which is the percentage of fair market value, and multiply it by the appropriate tax or millage rate to arrive at the amount due. If, as an example, you have 1000 of taxable assessed value and the appropriate tax rate is 40 mills, you would pay $1000 X 0.40= $40 in taxes.
Q- How can my taxes increase?
A- When additional taxes are voted by the people, and individual’s property tax bill will increase. Also, when market value increases, naturally so does the assessed value. If you were to make improvements to your existing property, for instance, add a garage, and additional room, or a swimming pool, the “fair market value” and, therefore, the assessed value would also increase. People make value by the transactions in the market place. The assessor simply has the legal and moral responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.
Q- What if I disagree with the assessor’s value of my property?
A- As a taxpayer, you have certain legal responsibilities to furnish correct information on your property to the assessor’s office. If you have compiled with these legal responsibilities, you are entitled to question the values placed on your property. If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessors, by all means go to the office and discuss the matter. Be prepared to show evidence that their valuation is too high. The staff will be glad to answer your questions about the assessor’s appraisal, explaining how it was done. The assessor’s office must rely on the property owner for information, and you can help by providing accurate data. If, after discussing the matter with the assessor, a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal the decision to the county equalization board. If the equalization board, after hearing your petition, agrees with the assessor you may appeal this decision to: 1) County Court, 2) Civil Circuit Court or 3) Arkansas Supreme Court.
Q- What is the Homestead Credit & Amendment 79?
A- Amd 79 is referred to as the "taxpayers bill of rights" was voted in by the voters in 2000. It gives a credit on your tax bill for your PRIMARY place of residence. When it was first voted in the credit was up to $300 off then increased by legislation to $350 and again amended and increased by legislation in 2019 session for a credit up to $375 to reflected on your 2019 tax bill.
Q- How do I qualify and apply for the Homestead Credit?
A- To qualify for the credit you MUST be the legal owner or legal interest in the property and it MUST be your primary place of residence. To apply you need go to Assessors office and fill out the Homestead Credit letter from the Assessors office showing your name as owner. Also if you are over 65 or disabled you could qualify for a freeze on your assess value of the home that you are claiming the credit. MUST have proof of age or disability to get the freeze.
The state agency that governs the assessors offices has changed their name to Arkansas Assessment Coordination Division (AACD) and their new website to be referenced is www.arkansasassessment.com
Important Calendar Information regarding your Assessment of Property:
January 1-May 31—Assessment of Personal Property or a 10% penalty if assessed late
July 1—Deadline for appraising and assessing all real property
August 1-September 1—Dates for appealing assessments and appraisals with the equalization board
October 15—Taxes are due or 10% penalty and publishing costs are assessed
To view your taxes online visit http://www.arcountydata.com