The assessor is required by Louisiana law 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 the 'fair arket value' or 'use value' as prescribed by law.
What the assessor does NOT do:
In order to appeal to the Louisiana Tax Commission, a taxpayer must start at the parish assessor’s office. During a period of 15 days between August 1st and September 15th, the assessment lists of each parish are open for public inspection. The assessor will publish in the local newspaper which two weeks apply to his/her office. During this period, taxpayers should check the values on their property, and discuss this with the assessor. If there is a disagreement, and the taxpayer wishes to protest the value, the taxpayer must, at that time, fill out a form “Notice of Appeal Request For Board of Review” (Form 3101), and schedule an appearance before the parish Board of Review for hearing(s) held for this purpose. The date(s) of hearing(s) of the Board of Review in your parish will also be published by the assessor in the local newspaper. The Board of Review office in your parish will determine if any changes should be made to the assessment values in question. If either the assessor or the taxpayer is not satisfied with the determination of the Board of Review, either may obtain from the Board, an Appeal Form (Form 3103.A) for further review by the Louisiana Tax Commission. The Louisiana Tax Commission will consider any and all appeals timely filed in hearings that are open to the public. Those considering appeals are encouraged to consult the assessor, parish board of review and the Louisiana Tax Commission for specific procedures, dates, times, and places of all hearings.
To find the value of any piece of property the assessor must first know:
Each year during August 1st through September 15th the assessment rolls are open for public inspection and for 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.
A property’s value can change for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that physical changes may have been made to the property such as additions, improvements, or major damage. The most frequent cause of change in value is a change in the market. The assessor does not create value. People make value by their transactions in the market place.
As a property owner, your rights include knowing how the assessor arrived at the values placed on your property. You have the right to look at the public records and ask questions. If, after discussing values with the assessor, you do not agree with his/her findings, you have the right to appeal to the Board of Review of your parish, and then to the Louisiana Tax Commission. As a property owner, you have the responsibility to see that all taxes on your property are paid in a timely manner. You should check with the assessor’s office to determine if your are eligible for exemptions, or special assessments.
In order to qualify for homestead exemption, one must own and occupy the house as his/her primary residence. Regardless of how many houses are owned, no one is entitled to more than one homestead exemption, which is a maximum of $7,500 of assessed value, except in those parishes whereby voters approved that the next $7,500 of the assessed valuation on property receiving the homestead which is owned and occupied by a veteran with a service connected disability rating of 100% by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation. If you change primary residence, you must notify the assessor. It is advisable to go in to the assessor’s office and apply for homestead exemption as soon as you purchase and occupy your home.
A Special Assessment applies to the homestead of persons who are 65 years of age and older if the adjusted gross household income is below a certain level. For the tax year 2016, that level will be $71,491. The level may change from year to year, so it is advisable to check with your assessor’s office to determine whether you qualify. This special assessment will freeze the assessed value of the homestead for as long as the applicant owns and resides in the home and income does not exceed the maximum allowed. This Special assessment level is lost if improvements in excess of 25% of the home’s value are added. Proof of age and income is required at the time the application is signed. The freeze extends to a surviving spouse who is at least 55 years of age, and meets all other qualifications.
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:
|Improvements for Residential
|Improvements for Commercial
|Business Movable Property (Personal)
|Public Service (Excluding Land)
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.
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.
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).
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).
Every person, association, company or corporation who will own or hold, subject to his or her control, any tangible or intangible business personal property is required to report said property for assessment every year.
The assessor may use self-reporting forms (LAT Forms) to gather data necessary to determine fair market value. A self-reporting form is to be returned to the assessor by the first day of April, or 45 days after receipt, whichever is later (R.S. 47:2324). 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)).
Public utilities are values by the Louisiana Tax Commission using the unit methodology which includes cost, income, and market approaches.
The notice should be published at least twice within a period not sooner than twenty-one (21) calendars days no later than seven (7) calendars days prior to the first day of the public exposure.
The assessment lists have to be open for public inspection for fifteen (15) days, except Orleans Parish who shall have their list open for public inspection August 1 through August 15th.