There are many questions on how property is assessed, when is it assessed, for what value is it assessed, and what can change an assessment. Property assessment has been around for a long time. It is one of the oldest forms of taxation. Most countries have some form of property tax. In the United States property assessment is governed by each individual state and can vary greatly from state to state. For example, Louisiana does not currently assess cars and boats, although some states do. Different states use different levels of “fair market value” to arrive at an assessed value. One state may use 100% of value while another may use 50% and still another may use 30%. Some states even use different levels of assessment for different types of property. Louisiana uses the following levels of assessment: Land 10% Residential Improvement 10% Commercial Improvement 15% Personal Property 15% Public Service 25% The guidelines for assessment in Louisiana are set forth in the State Constitution and the Revised Statutes of the State of Louisiana. The criteria for determining fair market value can be found in RS 47:2323. Property tax is an ad valorem tax, which means that a tax levy is apportioned among taxpayers according to the value of each taxpayer’s property. The value is determined by three different approaches:
- The Cost Approach – Cost to replace new less years of depreciation.
- The Sales Comparison Approach – the value that similar properties of similar construction and of like age are selling for.
- The Income Approach – the present worth of future benefits arising from the ownership of a property.
Data is gathered throughout the parish to assist the assessor’s office in determining all three approaches to value. For example, sales of homes in your neighborhood are collected and compiled for future use. Likewise, cost to construct new homes is collected and compiled. On income producing properties records of income and expense are gathered and compiled. The size of your house and the year it was constructed, plus many other factors, are on record in the assessor’s office to assist in placing a value on your property. Many different things can cause a change in your assessment. In Louisiana property is re-assessed every four years. All of the cost, sales and income information are used during this time to revalue property. New properties that are constructed between re-assessment years are assessed according to values used during the last re-assessment. Any substantial change to a property, like adding a room, can change your assessment. Also, a change in the use of the property can change the assessment, such as a residence becoming a place of business. There are many factors that go into assessing property. The Bossier Assessor’s office strives to be accurate and fair. Should you have a question about your assessment or want to see the information that was used to place a value on your property, please contact us.