does the Assessor do ?
What does the Assessor not do ?
How is property appraised ?
What is Tangible Personal Property ?
Why tax property ?
How are taxes calculated ?
Can I get a tax exemption ?
What are my rights and
Important dates ?
How do I get more information ?
does the Assessor do ?
The St. Martin Parish Assessor is
responsible for identifying, listing, and fairly valuing all
property, both real and personal, subject to ad-valorem taxation,
within the parish. The "ad-valorem" basis for taxation
means that all property should be taxed "according to
value" and assessed at a percentage of its "fair market
value" or "use value" as prescribed by law. The
"market value" of real property is based on the current
real estate market. Finding the "market value" of your
property means discovering the price most people would pay for your
property in its current condition. Determining a fair and equitable
value is the only role of this office in the taxing process.
What is important to remember is that the assessor does not create
the value. People make the value by buying and selling real estate
in the market place. The assessor has the legal responsibility to
study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.
The assessor also tracks ownership changes; maintains property maps
for each piece of real estate; keeps descriptions of all parcels,
buildings, and property characteristics up to date; accepts and
approves applications from individuals eligible for exemptions and
other forms of property tax relief; and, most importantly, analyzes
trends in sales prices, construction cost, and rents to best
estimate the value of all assessable property.
The St. Martin Parish Assessorís Office must appraise and assess
approximately 30,000 parcels of property. All public service
properties are assessed by the Louisiana Tax Commission.
Property is assessed as follows:
- Land: * of its "fair market
value" or "use value"
- Residential Improvements: * of
"fair market value"
- Commercial Land: * of "fair
- Commercial Improvements: 15% of
"fair market value"
- Public Service (excluding land): 25%
does the Assessor not do ?
assessor does not raise or lower taxes. The assessor does not make
the laws which affect property owners. The Constitution of the State
of Louisiana, as adopted by the voters, provides the basic frame
work for taxation, and tax laws are made by the Louisiana
Legislature. The rules and regulations for assessment are set by the
Louisiana Tax Commission. The tax dollars are levied by the taxing
bodies, such as the police jury, school board, etc., and collected
by the Sheriffís Office as Ex-Officio Tax Collector. The assessorís
office has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes collected.
The assessorís primary responsibility is to find the "fair
market value" of your property so that you may only pay your
fair share of the taxes. The amount of taxes you pay is determined
by a "tax rate" applied to your propertyís assessed
value. The "tax rate" is determined by all the taxing
agencies within a district, city, or parish, and those rates fixed
by the Constitution. They include school districts, police juries,
law enforcement districts, etc. Tax rates are simply those rates
which will provide funds to pay for those services.
is property appraised ?
law requires that properties be reassessed once every four years.
However, individual property values may be adjusted between that
period in light of sales activity or other factors affecting real
estate values in your neighborhood. Sales of similar properties are
a strong indicator of values in the real estate market in your
To find the value of your property, the assessor must first know
what properties have sold, and how much they are selling for in
todayís market. That is why we maintain an accurate data base of
real estate information. Each transaction must be studied to make
sure it was an arms-length transaction, meaning that a willing
seller sold to a willing buyer without any undue pressure or special
incentives (such as family relationship), and that the property was
on the market for neither an excessive nor short period of time.
Once this is determined, we can base the value of a property from
other sales of comparable properties. This is the sales comparison
approach to valuation.
Two other methods are used to appraise property - the cost approach
and the income approach. The cost approach is based on how much it
would cost today to build an almost identical structure on the
parcel. If your property is not new, the assessor must also
determine how much the building has lost value over time. The
assessor must also determine the value of the land itself - without
buildings or any improvements.
The income approach is the third way to evaluate property - usually
commercial property. It requires a study of how much revenue your
property would produce if it were rented as an apartment house, a
store, an office building and so on. The assessor must consider
operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance cost, and the
return or profit most people would expect on your kind of property.
is Tangible Personal Property ?
personal property is everything other than real estate that is used
in a business or to produce income and that has value by itself. It
includes such depreciating assets as furniture, fixtures, tools,
machinery, household appliances, signs, equipment, leasehold
improvements, supplies, and leased equipment.
Anyone owning tangible personal property on January 1, who has
either a proprietorship, partnership, corporation or is a
self-employed agent or contractor, must file a tangible personal
property return by April 1 each year. Property owners who lease,
lend or rent property must also file.
A tangible personal property tax return is mailed by February 15 of
each year to all property owners who filed a return the previous
year, applied for an occupational license, started or purchased a
business. Failure to receive a return does not excuse a person from
filing or the penalties on late returns.
tax property ?
taxes provide the funds so our local governments can provide needed
services - like educating our children and protecting us from crime.
Without property taxes many of the services provided by local
government could not be available.
The assessor is not responsible for the amount of taxes collected.
The assessorís primary responsibility is to find the fair market
value of your property, so that you will pay only your fair share.
The value of your property is only one part of the equation.
are taxes calculated ?
rates are based on millages, bond issues, and fees that have been
voted by registered voters in the various districts which have been
established by the Legislature or Constitution. The tax monies
collected for the district go to pay for schools, roads, law
enforcement, fire protection, and other services that the taxpayers
demand and desire from local government. To calculate the taxes on
your property, you must take the assessed value, which is a
percentage of "fair market value", and multiply it by the
appropriate tax or millage rate to arrive at the amount due. If, as
an example you have $1000 of taxable assessed value and the tax rate
is 120 mills, you would pay $1000 x .120 = $120 in taxes. If your
home is valued at $100,000 and you are eligible and have signed for
homestead exemption, you would calculate your taxes as follows:
Parish Taxes Due)
I get a tax exemption ?
addition to determining values, the assessor accepts applications
for and administers property tax exemptions.
Several types of exemptions are available. The type of exemption
benefiting the largest number of property owners is the Homestead
Exemption. If you own property which you use as your primary
residence as of January 1, you may apply for Homestead
Exemption. This will reduce the taxable value of your home by
$75,000, resulting in substantial savings on your property taxes.
are my rights and responsibilities ?
taxpayer, you have a certain legal responsibility to furnish correct
information on your property to the assessorís office. If you have
complied with these legal requirements, you are entitled to question
values placed on your property. Each year during the last part of
August and the first of September the assessment rolls are open for
inspection and for discussion of the assessment with the assessorís
office. If your opinion of the value of your property differs form
the assessorís, this is the time to discuss your assessment. Be
prepared to show evidence that the assessorís valuation of the
property is to high. Our staff will be glad to answer your questions
about the assessorís appraisal, explaining how it was done. The
assessorís office must rely on the property owner for information,
and you can help by providing accurate data. If after discussing the
matter with the assessor, a difference of opinion still exists, you
may appeal your assessment to the St. Martin Parish Board of Review.
If the Board, after hearing your petition, agrees with the assessor,
a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal the Boardís
decision to the Louisiana Tax Commission. If the Commission agrees
with the Board and the assessor, you can plea your case before the
courts should you choose to do so.
Several taxpayers wait until the tax bill is sent to discuss their
assessment. We will discuss you assessment at that time but you
cannot legally file a protest at that time.
1 (Deadline for filing personal property returns)
June 30 (Deadline to apply for Homestead Exemption)
August 15 thru September 15 (Assessment review period)
do I get more information ?
Our staff is available from 8:30 AM to
4:30 PM Monday thru Friday to answer your questions. Typical
information available at our office includes:
- Legal descriptions
- Sales Information
- Lot size and square footage
- Parcel identification number
Please feel free to call
or visit our office. One of our Deputy Assessorís will be
happy to help you get the information you need.