Property values slid for most, county says

KINGMAN - The County Assessor's Office mailed 2012 property tax assessment notices on Feb. 11. On average, property values across the county went down, said Chief Deputy Assessor Beverly Payne, but it depends on where you live. There are pockets throughout the county where property values actually went up. The 2012 property values are based on real estate sales from 2009 and 2010, she said.

A lower assessed value does not necessarily mean a lower tax rate, Payne said. Many tax districts, such as schools, fire departments and water districts, increase their tax rates when property values go down in order to generate enough money to operate. For contact or tax rate information for various taxing districts, visit the Assessor's website at www.co.mohave.az.us, click on the "departments" tab and then on "assessor."

The time to appeal a property valuation is now, not after you get your tax bill, Payne said. Tax bills for the 2012 property tax year will be sent out in August or September of 2012, after the tax rates have been approved by the Board of Supervisors, she said.

The Board usually approves the tax rates in June or July. The county tax rate for 2010-2011 tax bills was $1.46 per $100 assessed value on a home. Last year's county rate was $1.26 per $100. She reminded taxpayers that the bills are sent out by the Treasurer's Office, not the Assessor's.

Residents have until April 12 to visit the Assessor's Office and pick up an assessment appeal form or call the office at (928) 753-0703. The forms are also available on the Assessor's website.

After the April 12 appeal deadline, property owners will have to appeal their assessment to the Arizona Tax Court, Payne said. The last day to file an appeal with the Tax Court is Dec. 15. Payne warned that filing an appeal with the tax court could cost a property owner a few hundred dollars. New property owners who have purchased a property after the April 12 deadline can also appeal their assessment to the Tax Court.

According to the Assessor website, if a property owner sends an appeal request to the Assessor's Office and disagrees with the office's decision, they can appeal to the Board of Equalization within 25 days of receiving the decision or appeal to the Arizona Tax Court.

Also, property owners who are at least 65 years old can have their full cash values frozen for three years. The property must be the primary residence of the taxpayer and they must have lived in the home for the last two years. They have the option to freeze either the 2011 or 2012 value, whichever is lower. The deadline is Sept. 1.