Homeowners must designate primary residence to assessor

KINGMAN - When homeowners in Mohave County receive their blue 2015 Notice of Value cards, they need to keep looking until they find something new - a Notice of Intent.

"Along with the familiar blue cards is something that homeowners may be unaware of," said Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, District 3. "In 2011, the state Legislature passed a new rule requiring the assessor's office to properly classify all residential property types, including primary or non-primary residences. For folks who own more than one property in the county, responding to this Notice of Intent is crucial."

The blue 2015 Notice of Value cards, along with Notices of Intent, were sent out Feb. 14 to more than 260,000 property lots throughout the county. The deadline to appeal 2015 values with the assessor is April 15. The county derives valuation for residential and vacant land parcels by collecting comparable sales from the same area and includes factors such as location, view, size, quality and condition.

Under the new rule, homeowners with second properties are now required to notify the assessor's office about which property they want to claim as their primary residence. The new rule was part of the Jobs Bill that was passed in 2011. Prior to its passage, people with several homes they weren't renting out could qualify for the Less State Aid to Education, which discounted their property tax bill.

The Jobs Bill changed the rules so the credit only applies to primary residences or homes occupied by a close relative of the owner. Johnson said that for some homeowners, this reclassification could increase their property taxes by $100 or more.

Under the law, the assessor's office is required to send out two notices to homeowners with multiple properties twice a year on even numbered years. If a property owner fails to return the form, the assessor must determine based on information available which property is primary.

For property owners who want to appeal their notice of value or current classification, they have 60 days after the date on the blue Notice of Value. According to county records, said Johnson, the assessor usually lowers 85 percent of the properties that are appealed.

"In the past couple of years, the number of appealed properties has risen to 5 percent from the normal 1 percent, resulting in $800,000 less in property tax revenues," said Johnson.

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