What does the Assessor do ?
The Assessor is required by the Louisiana Constitution to list, value and enumerate all property subject to ad valorem taxation on an Assessment Roll each year. The "ad valorem" basis for taxation means that all property should be taxed "according to value" which is the definition of ad valorem. The Assessed Value is a percentage of "Fair Market Value" or "Use Value" as prescribed by law.
Property is assessed as follows:
- LAND - 10% of "Fair Market Value"
- RESIDENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS - 10% of "fair market value"
- COMMERCIAL PROPERTY - (Including personal property) - 15% of "Fair Market Value" (NOTE: Commercial land is assessed at 10% of "Fair Market Value".)
- The St. Tammany Parish Assessor's Office must appraise and assess approximately 102,000 parcels of property. All public service properties are assessed by the Louisiana Tax Commission.
WHAT THE ASSESSOR 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 Louisiana, as adopted by the voters, provides the basic framework for taxation, and tax laws are made by the Louisiana Legislature. The rules and regulations for assessment are set by the Louisiana Tax Commission. The tax dollars are levied by the taxing bodies, such as the Policy Jury, School Board, etc., and are collected by the Sheriff's Office as Ex- Officio Tax Collector.
- 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 "Tax Rate" applied to your property's Assessed Value. The Tax Rate is determined by all the taxing agencies within a district, city, or parish, and those rates fixed by the Constitution. They include School Districts, Police Juries, Law Enforcement Districts, etc. The Tax Rate is the basis for the budget needed or demanded by the voters to provide for services such as schools, roads, law enforcement, etc. Tax Rates are simply those rates which will provide funds to pay for those services.
HOW IS YOUR ASSESSMENT DETERMINED ?
- To arrive at "Fair Market Value" for your property, the Assessor must know what "willing sellers" and "willing buyers" are doing in the marketplace. He 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 estimate by the Appraiser. After your appraisal has been made, the appropriate percentage of value required by law is calculated as your "Assessed Value."
WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH THE ASSESSOR'S VALUE OF MY PROPERTY ?
- As a property owner, you have a right to appeal your assessment. To appeal your assessment you must contact your Assessor's Office. It would be helpful to provide information such as a recent appraisal, an opinion of value from a Licensed Realtor or any information documenting adverse conditions that may directly affect the value of your property. If, after discussing the matter with the Assessor, a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal your assessment to the St. Tammany Board of Review. If the Board, after hearing your petition, agrees with the Assessor, you may appeal this decision to the Louisiana State Tax Commission. If the Commission agrees with the Board and the Assessor, you can then plead your case before the courts should you choose to do so.