The state-mandated reappraisal that occurs every five years in order to bring property values to current market values will soon be finalized, according to Anderson County Property Assessor John K. Alley Jr.
In early May, the Tennessee Department of Property Assessments will mail assessment change notices to every property owner in Anderson County.
These notices are not tax bills; they are just notification that taxpayers’ property assessment values have changed due to current sales data and market conditions, as required by law.
Taxpayers who have questions about the assessment change notices are asked to call the Property Assessor’s Office, at 865-457-6225, for an informal appeal.
In response to COVID-19, the Property Assessor’s Office is stressing contact only by phone or e-mail.
“I want every citizen of Anderson County to fully understand the reappraisal process as we continue to provide the most accurate and transparent assessment details possible,” Alley said.
An informational video link titled “2020 Reappraisal” is available on the home page of the assessor’s website at acassessor.com. It explains the reappraisal process.
Alley also added that “the short video was created by the state of Tennessee comptroller and simply explains the reappraisal process. I encourage everyone with assessment questions or concerns to watch the video.”
What is reappraisal and why is it
Reappraisal is conducted in Anderson County pursuant to Tennessee law, TCA §67-5-1601, which requires each county to periodically update property values to reflect current market value. This process eliminates inequities that happen over time by changes in the real estate market. Mass reappraisal works to ensure fairness to all property owners.
How is “market value” determined?
The Assessor’s Office, along with the state DPA, bases market value calculations on collected sales data and market conditions from all real estate transactions in Anderson County, taking into consideration other factors affecting real estate values in your neighborhood.
The best indicator of current market value is qualified (willing buyer and willing seller) prior year sales which the Assessor’s Office uses to determine reappraisal values.
The reappraisal is revenue neutral, which means the county cannot generate more tax revenue on a reappraisal year than it did the prior year. A Certified Tax Rate will be set to reflect the assessment changes to prevent a windfall for the county.
For example, if the total assessment increases overall countywide, then the new Certified Tax Rate should, by law, decrease to equalize the tax revenue to equal last year’s collections. But even under the Certified Tax Rate, some taxpayers pay more, and some pay less than the previous year due to the effects of this equalization – but the difference normally is small. The Certified Tax Rate lowers the tax bill for taxpayers whose property values fall below the countywide average change in values and raises it on those above the countywide average. The newly developed Certified Tax Rate will be sent to the County Commission at the end of the reappraisal for adoption.
The reappraisal process consists of four years of monitoring and review and final value calculations in the fifth year. During the review period every parcel in the county is inspected to ensure the Property Assessor’s records correctly reflect what is actually on the property. Records may be adjusted due to additions, new buildings, demolition or error correction.
During the fifth year of reappraisal, properties are grouped together by property characteristics (size, quality and location). Recent sales within those groups are collected and analyzed. The information is reconciled, and values are applied to each group.
The intent of reappraisal is to restore equity to the property tax system so when the jurisdiction’s budget is set, each taxpayer only pays a genuine, fair share of the tax burden.
The “Truth in Taxation” law, also known as the “Certified Tax Rate” law, requires that the new tax rate must be adjusted to produce no more revenue than the prior year (minus any new construction improvements during that prior year from the tax base).
However, after setting the new rate, the local legislative body can hold a public hearing and raise the rate above that certified rate.
As time passes, some parts of the county increase in value faster than other parts. Other parts of the county may increase, but at a much slower rate. This is what causes an unequal tax base and is the exact reason why state laws require periodic reappraisals — to reestablish an equitable tax base.
Values are mandated by state law to be equalized and brought to market value every five years in Anderson County. The taxing jurisdictions must calculate a revenue-neutral rate that produces the same levy as the prior year on the same parcels. So, increase or decrease after the values are brought to market depends on your individual property’s change relative to the county median value. So, your value could go up and your taxes paid could drop all in the same year.
Higher values during a reappraisal do not necessarily mean higher taxes. The law requires the counties and cities to reexamine property tax rates after a reappraisal to make sure higher taxable values do not automatically result in a tax increase.
Once a certified rate is calculated by the legislative body and chief executive of the tax jurisdiction, and reviewed by the State Board of Equalization, it is submitted to the jurisdiction’s governing body for formal determination, usually for consideration with the budget.
If the budget will require an increase (tax raise) above the certified rate (the revenue-neutral rate), the governing body must publish notice of a public hearing on whether to exceed the certified rate and then may proceed to adopt an actual tax rate after the hearing.
If the certified tax rate is exceeded, the jurisdiction must send the State Board of Equalization an affidavit of publication for the hearing notice, and a certified copy of the final tax rate ordinance or resolution.
The Anderson County Assessor’s Office does not set the budget or the tax rate, and does not collect taxes.
The office values property based on current sales and market factors to restore equality and treat everyone fairly.
If you have any questions, visit the website at acassessor.com and view the 2020 reappraisal video or call 865-457-6225.
You may address mail to the office at 100 North Main St., Suite 202, Clinton, TN 37716.