The Assessor is required to locate, list, classify, value, and assess all property in Morehouse Parish for ad valorem taxation according to the Constitution of Louisiana and the laws of the state. Ad valorem means “according to value" - thus the amount of tax is based on the value of the property and not the ability to pay. This property includes all REAL (land and buildings) and PERSONAL (business movables).
The Assessor also tracks ownership changes; maintains maps of parcel boundaries; and maintains the legal description of each property parcel. All culminates annually, with the filing of the Tax Roll, a major source of revenue for law enforcement, education, fire protection, roads and drainage.
The Parish Tax Collector is the Sheriff and all ad valorem taxes for the Parish are due by December 31 of current year.
Bastrop, Bonita, Collinston, Mer Rouge and Oak Ridge send tax bills and collect taxes based on the assessments and millage rates for that particular municipality or village.
The Goal of the Assessor's office is to ensure that property is assessed fairly and equitably, and that is our pledge.
To find the value of any piece of property, the assessor must first know:
Using these facts, the assessor can then go about finding the property’s value in three different ways.
Sale Comparison Approach:
The first method compares your property to others that have sold recently. These prices, however, must be analyzed very carefully to get the true picture. One property may have sold for more than it was worth because the buyer was in a hurry and would pay any price. Another may have sold for less money than it was worth because the owner needed cash right away. The property was sold to the first person who made an offer.
When using the Sales Comparison Approach, the assessor must always consider such overpricing or underpricing and analyze many sales to arrive at a fair valuation of your property. Size, quality, condition, location, and time of sale are also important factors to consider.
A second way to value your property is based on how much money it would take, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property with one similar. If your property is not new, the assessor must also determine how much it has depreciated. In addition, the assessor must estimate how much a lot like yours would be worth if vacant.
The third way is to evaluate how much income your property would produce if it were rented as an apartment house, a store, or a factory. The assessor must consider operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and the return most people would expect on your type of property.
Each year between August 15th and September 15th, the Assessor must open the assessment rolls for a two-week period during this time frame. The assessment rolls are open for public inspection and discussion of the assessment with the assessor’s office. This is the time to discuss your assessment. It also is the time that a taxpayer can legally file a protest to the assessment if a settlement with the assessor cannot be reached. Many taxpayers wait until the tax bills are sent each year to discuss their assessment. The assessor will discuss your assessment at that time but a property owner cannot legally file a protest at that time. Check Assessor's calendar for the date of the inspection.
A property’s value can change for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that the property changes. A bedroom, garage, or swimming pool is added, or part of the property is destroyed by flood or fire. The most frequent cause of change in value is a change in the market. If a city’s major industry leaves, property values can collapse. As young homebuyers discover decaying neighborhoods with good housing stock, prices gradually rise and then may soar as the neighborhood becomes fashionable. A shortage of detached houses in a desirable city neighborhood can send prices to a ridiculous level. In a recession, larger homes may stay on the market for a long time, but more affordable homes are in demand, so their prices rise. In a stable neighborhood, with no extraordinary pressure from the market, inflation may increase property value.
When a market value changes, naturally so do assessed value. For instance, if you were to add a garage to your home, the assessed value would increase. However, if your property is in poor repair, the assessed value would decrease. The assessor has not created the value. People make value by their transactions in the marketplace. The assessor has the legal responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.
If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessor’s, please come to our office and discuss this matter. My staff will be glad to answer your questions about the appraisal and explain how to appeal if you cannot come to an agreement. The assessor’s office relies on the property owner for information. You can help by providing accurate information. If you feel your taxes are too high, you should make your opinion known to the proper taxing authorities. Ask about your eligibility for special exemptions.
The Homestead Exemption Application should be filed after January 1st and before December 31st, qualifying early ensures your tax notice will be correct. To qualify for a homestead exemption the owner must be the bona fide owner and reside thereon, to qualify for homestead exemption for that year. If you move you need to notify my office that you no longer qualify for that homestead. If you move to a new home and qualify for a homestead exemption you may notify us when you come into our office to file for new homestead exemption.
A Special Assessment level applies to the homestead of persons meeting the following criteria and your adjusted gross household income is $71,564.00 or less (for 2015). This special assessment level freezes the assessed value for each year the owner applies and receives this Special Assessment. To qualify you must bring proof of income for the previous year such as a Tax Return of the Social Security Benefits Earnings Statement. This Special Assessment Level is lost if the property is transferred, improvements are made in excess of 25% of property value if the owner’s adjusted gross income exceeds the set level. The surviving spouse can qualify if they are over 55 and meet the other qualifications of the exemption.
You must be 65 years of age or older to apply for this freeze. This freeze is a permanent freeze. You do not have to sign up each year. After meeting the above-listed requirements, you do not have to come in each year to reapply.
This freeze will apply to persons with a 100% disability of for Veterans with 50% or more disability. There is no age qualification for this freeze. This freeze must be applied for each year, and the individual applying for the freeze must provide to the Assessor's Office with documentation that proves the amount of disability that the individual has. These persons must also meet the income requirement listed above.
In Louisiana, the classification of property subject to ad valorem taxation and the percentage of fair market value applicable to each classification for the purpose of determining assessed value are as follows:
|Improvemnts for Residential||10%|
|Improvements for Commercial||15%|
|Business Movable Property (Personal)||15%|
|Public Service (Excluding Land)||25%|
Bona fide agricultural, horticultural, marsh and timberlands as defined by Revenue Statues shall be assessed for tax purposes at 10% of use value rather than market value. The Louisiana Tax Commission sets these values. The Use Value Application is available on this website under Forms.
Millage is the percentage of value that is used in calculating taxes. A mill is defined as 1/10 of 1 percent and is multiplied by the assessed value after any exemptions have been subtracted to calculate the taxes. For example: if the tax rate is 150 mills and total assessed value is $10,000 with no exemptions, the taxes would be calculated as $10,000 x .150 = $1,500.00. If for the same house you had a homestead exemption the taxes would be: $10,000 - $7,500(H.E.) = $2,500.00 x .150 = $375.00 in taxes. This demonstrates the importance of filing a homestead exemption.
Changes in millage rates occur under four circumstances:
A. Personal Property or movable property, includes all things other than real estate which have any pecuniary value, all moneys, credits, investments in bonds, stocks, franchises, shares in joint stock companies or otherwise (R.S. 47:1702 and R.S. 47:2322).
B. Personal property will mean tangible property that is capable of being moved or removed from real property without substantial damage to the property itself or the real property from which it is capable of being removed. Personal property will include, but not be limited to, inventory, furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment, and all process and manufacturing machinery and equipment, including the foundation therefore (R.S. 47:2322).
|TELEPHONE SYSTEMS||FAX MACHINES||COPY MACHINES|
|DESKS AND CHAIRS||COMPUTERS||POSTAGE METERS|
|SHELVING AND RACKS||PLANT MACHINERY||STORAGE TANKS|
|REFRIGERATION UNITS||HIGH LOADERS||TOOLS/DIES/MOLDS|
|INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT||MANUFACTURING EQUIPMENT||MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES|
|CRANES||LEASEHOLD IMPROVEMENTS||OIL AND GAS PROPERTIES|
Fair market value, is the selling price for a property, which would be agreed upon between a willing and informed buyer and a willing and informed seller under usual and ordinary circumstances. (R.S. 47:2321).
A. The criteria for determining fair market value will apply uniformly throughout the state. Uniform Guidelines, procedures and rules and regulations as necessary to implement said criteria will be adopted by the Louisiana Tax Commission only after public hearings held pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. R.S. 47:2323(A).
B. Each assessor will follow the uniform guidelines, procedures, and rules and regulations within his respective parish or district in determining fair market value of all property subject to taxation. Any manual or manuals used by an assessor will be subject to approval by the Louisiana Tax Commission or its successor agency. (R.S. 47:2323 (B).
C. The following will determine the fair market value of real and personal property generally recognized appraisal procedures: the market approach, the cost approach, and/or the income approach.
Every person, association, company or corporation who will own or hold, subject to his or her control, any tangible or intangible business personal property will list said property for assessment every year.
A. The assessor may use self-reporting forms to gather data necessary to determine fair market value. A self-reporting form will be returned to the assessor by the first day of April, or 45 days after receipt, whichever is later (R.S. 47:2324).
B. By failing to file a report when it is due, a property owner loses the right to appeal the appraisal by the assessor (R.S. 47:2329). If the failure to file is intentional, a penalty of 10 percent of the tax due will be imposed (R.S. 47:2330(A). If a taxpayer files a false report with the intent to defraud, a penalty of 10 percent of the tax due will be imposed (R.S. 47:2330 (A).
If the fair market value of your business personal property is $5000, and the fixed percentage of assessment is 15%, this would mean the assessed value would be $750. ($5000 x .15 = $750)
Once taxing groups (school districts, cities, etc.) set their mill levy, this amount is used to calculate your taxes.
Let’s assume the combined mill levy (tax rate) has been set at 170 mills. Multiply the assessed value of your property ($750) by the mill levy (170 mills or .170). The answer is $127.50, which is your share of the costs of public services.
FOR EXAMPLE: $5000 Market Value X .15 Assessment Ratio = $750 Assessed Value (A.V.) X .170 Mill Levy (170 mills per $1000 A.V.) = $127.50 Tax Amount Due