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What are the duties of the Assessor Office?
The Assessor Office is allocated with several administrative and statutory duties. The primary duties and responsibility are to assess all taxable real and personal property within the jurisdiction. This includes residential, commercial, and agricultural classes of property. January 1st is the effective date of assessment each calendar year. The Assessor Office functions on a four-year revaluation cycle, which means each property within the county is visually inspected at least once within the cycle to pick up any new improvements or any deletions of improvements.
Misconceptions about Assessor work?
The Assessor DOES NOT:
The Assessor Office is based on value, not taxes. Taxing jurisdictions such as schools, cities, and townships adopt budgets after public hearings. This determines the tax levy, which is the rate of taxation required to raise the money budgeted. The taxes you pay are proportionate to the value of your property.
How is Market Value Estimated?
To estimate the market value of your property, the Assessor generally uses one of three methods. The first method is generally referred to as the MARKET APPROACH and is usually considered the most important in determining the value of residential properties. The second method is the COST APPROACH. This method is an estimate of how many dollars (at current labor and material prices) it would take to replace your property with one similar to it. In the event an improvement is not new, appropriate amounts for depreciation and obsolescence would be deducted from replacement value. The value of the land would then be added to arrive at the total estimate of value. The INCOME APPROACH is the third method used, especially if your property produces income such as an apartment or office building. In that case, your property could be valued according to its ability to produce income under prudent management; in other words, what another investor would give for a property in order to gain its income. The income approach is the most complex of the three approaches because of the research, information and analysis necessary for an accurate estimate of value. This method requires a thorough knowledge of local and national financial conditions, as well as any developmental trends in the area of the subject property being appraised -- since errors or inaccurate information can seriously affect the final estimate of value.
Why Value Changes?
State law requires that all real property be re-assessed every year. Changes in market values are indicated by research, sales ratio studies and analysis of local conditions, as well as economic trends both in and outside the construction industry, are used in determining your assessment. If you disagree with the assessor's estimate of value, please consider these two questions before proceeding: What is the actual market value of my property? How does the value compare to similar properties in the neighborhood? If you have any questions about the assessment of your property, feel free to come in and discuss it with the assessor. This is known as an informal protest. The assessor will then arrange for a follow-up visual inspection with the property owner, so that reasons for the protest can be witnessed by the assessor's office and appropriate adjustments, if any, can be made. You may file a written protest with the Osage County Board of Equalization, which is composed of three members from various areas of the assessing jurisdiction. The Board of Equalization operates independently of the Assessor Office, and has the power to confirm or to adjust either upward or downward any assessment. If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Equalization, you may appeal to district court within twenty days after adjournment of the Board or twenty days after May 31st, whichever is the latest.
Tax Levies and Assessed Values
There are a number of different taxing districts in a jurisdiction, each with a different levy. Each year, a levy is determined that will yield enough money to pay for schools, police and fire protection, road maintenance and other services budgeted for our particular area. The tax levy, or mill, is applied to each $1,000 of a property's assessed value. When comparing the value of your property with other properties, always compare with the value on the assessment roll or the assessor's property record cards and not the value indicated on the tax statement.
Oklahoma law provides for a number of exemptions for a person holding title of property and/ or owning personal property located within Osage County. It is the property owner's responsibility to apply for these as provided by law. If the property you were occupying as a homestead is sold, or if you cease to use the property as your primary residence, you are required to report this to the assessor within whose jurisdiction the property is located. Other exemptions include the 100% Disabled Veteran's Exemption, the Additional Homestead Exemption, and the Valuation Freeze. For more information on any of these exemptions, please contact the Osage County Assessor Office directly at (918) 287-3448.
Some content may be extracted from OSU Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet AGEC-802 and/or the County Training Program website. More complete information is available from these sources.