Appraisal FAQs

 

How is the appraised value of my home/property determined?

The Revenue Commissioner’s Office employs one of the most experienced staffs in the state to do the appraisal work.  Two of the appraisers working for the office are Certified by the State of Alabama.  The process for determining your appraised value requires that the following steps be completed:

1.  The appraiser makes an on-site inspection of the subject property.

2.  If new structures exist, the appraiser measures and lists construction details of the new building according to the guidelines as listed in the Alabama Department of Revenue Appraisal Manual.  The appraiser also notes changes to pre-existing structures.

3.  The land value is determined according to classification (ie., agriculture, residential, commercial or industrial).

What if I disagree with the appraised value of my home/property?

When a new value is placed on property, the taxpayer is notified of such.  The taxpayer is required to contact our office to make an appointment with the Board of Equalization.  If the taxpayer does not get the relief he feels fair, he may appeal the Board decision to the Blount County Circuit Court.

Is my land valued differently than my neighbors?

There are no two pieces of property alike.  The process to determine the value of property is a straightforward one as far as the accumulation of data and converting this data into values.  Every effort is made to “equalize” property values in the same area of the County, and for each area of the County to “blend in” with the adjoining area (neighborhood).

How often is my property re-appraised?

Act 160 of The Code Of Alabama (1975) created the statewide property reappraisal program and made the Alabama Department Of Revenue responsible for the supervision and implementation of statewide reappraisal.  This was done in response to a Federal Court Order to equalize values in Alabama.  The original order was to reappraise every 6 years, then lowered to 5 years, then to a 4 year cycle, and in 2003, counties were ordered to begin “annual re-appraisals”.

Is there a difference between “fair market value” and the “appraised tax value”?

No. The laws of the State direct the Revenue Commissioner to appraise all land for taxes at its fair market value.  The “fair market value” is defined as the “monetary worth” of a property with a prudent buyer not pressed to buy and a knowledgeable seller not pressed to sell.  In mass appraisal, appraised tax values do not always equal their indicators of market value but should fall between 98%-102% of market value.

If I build or add on to my house, should I notify the Revenue Commission?

Yes.  Failure to do so will result in a 10% penalty on your next tax bill.  It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to notify the Revenue Commissioner of any newly constructed or remodeled buildings.  This should be done before October 1st each year.  It is also to the advantage of the taxpayer to notify the Revenue Commissioner when tearing down or removing any existing buildings so as not to continue paying taxes on those structures.

What is Current Use?

In 1978 the Alabama Legislature passed an act enabling the valuation of farm and timberland at its current use value instead of market value.  The 1975 Code of Alabama defines market value and current use values as follows:

Market value – The estimated price at which the property would bring at a fair voluntary sale.

Current use value – The value of eligible taxable property based on the use being made of that property on October 1st of any taxable year; provided, that no consideration shall be taken of the prospective value such property might have if it were put to some other possible use.

The law enacted in 1978 did not prescribe a set method to determine current use value.  In 1982 the legislature amended Title 40-7-25.1 of the 1975 Code of Alabama to include a definite formula for the calculation of current use values.

Many people ask the question “Why is there a current use value for agriculture land separate from market value?”  The general opinion was that a farmer should not be penalized by paying higher taxes on farm land that has a market value based on the speculative use of the property for uses other than farm land.  Often times the market value of farm land in or close to a city or other developing area, will have a higher market value because the highest and best use of the farm land may be for a subdivision, shopping center, industrial site or other use which brings a higher value than farm land.  Current use valuation allows the valuation of the farm land to be based on the actual use of the property rather than what the use might be if the property were sold or developed.

Attorney General Opinions re: Current Use.

The following list of AG Opinions regarding Current Use may be viewed on the Attorney General website. Use the numbers below to find the opinions specific to Current Use:

#79-00026    #80-00535    #81-00490    #82-00158    #82-00364    #82-00453    #83-00164

#84-00303    #86-00064    #86-00116    #87-00252    #87-00285    #87-00324    #88-00013

#88-00014    #88-00125    #90-00034    #90-00321    #95-00285    #95-00332

 

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