Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
KINGMAN – Property values increased about 3 percent across Mohave County in 2016, and Assessor Jeanne Kentch sees them continuing to go up slowly for the next five years.
“We want to keep a check on things going up too fast like they did in the past,” Kentch said Monday at the monthly meeting of the Conservative Republican Club of Kingman.
Kentch explained the process of assessing property values, including the difference between full cash value, or true “market” value, and limited property value, which is calculated according to a statutory formula and is designed to reduce the effects of inflation.
Limited property value can only go up by 5 percent from the previous year’s assessed value unless there’s a significant change to the property such as a room addition or new swimming pool, Kentch noted.
“If you have improvements, we start all over again,” she said. “I’m going to be fair and equitable. That’s actually in the statutes.”
Beginning in 2015, the limited property value is used as the basis for determining both primary and secondary taxes.
In a property owner feels they’ve been assessed too much value, they can appeal the amount, Kentch said. If the assessor rejects their appeal, the taxpayer can file an amended appeal with the Board of Equalization, or take it to tax court.
“Our goal is to work with you,” the assessor said. “You can go straight to tax court, but it’s going to cost you money. You’ll have to go down to Phoenix. And it costs us money for lawyers. It’s cheaper for everyone if you just call us. We really want to work with you.”
Kentch said some property owners may be eligible for tax exemptions.
State law provides $3,838 to be taken off the assessed value of property for all widowed and disabled persons. Tax savings can range from about $150 to $500, depending on tax rates in the area, Kentch said.
There’s also a push in the Legislature to expand exemptions to disabled veterans based on the percentage of their disability. For instance, a veteran with 50 percent disability would qualify for 50 percent of the exemption.
If you’re over 65 and have lived in your primary residence for at least two years, the state provides for a “senior freeze” on home valuation, Kentch mentioned.
Income from all sources, including nontaxable income, cannot exceed $35,280 for a single owner and $44,100 for two or more owners.