Charles E. Stokes
FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT
SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT
The Assessor's office duties are to list all taxable property and estimate values in accordance with the laws that govern the jurisdiction. It is hard to overstate the importance of assessors to the administration of the property tax and indirectly, the vitality of local governments. Appraised values, as the basis of assessed values, determine the distribution of property tax levies among taxpayers. Only if these values are correct will tax limits, debt limits, and the distribution of state aid to localities be as the legislature intended. Boards of review and boards of equalization can never fully correct poor initial assessments.
Mr. Stokes has to administer jurisdictions as small as Learned, Mississippi with about 100 parcels, to the City of Jackson, the largest city in the state, with over 70,000 parcels. The Grand total of parcels within Mr. Stokes' jurisdiction exceeds 106,000 parcels.
Many aspects of the assessor's work are spelled out in statutes. The statutes also define value, list the information to be included on the assessment roll, and provide a timetable for completing various duties of the office that Mr. Stokes has been elected.
These duties are carried out within an administrative and political system that includes many other elected officers. The assessor works with the Tax collector who is responsible for preparing forms and computing the tax bills and collects the taxes. Mr. Stokes also works closely with the office of Chancery Clerk. Through the Chancery Clerk's office the assessor's office receives deeds that have been filed to transfer ownership of property. The office of the Tax Assessor needs these deeds to assure that the proper taxpayer is being assessed with the property that is owned by the taxpayer.
The State Tax Commission oversees the values that are produced by the Assessor's office. The Commission reviews the values by a means of Ratio Studies and audits of the appraisal files as noted by statutes.
A real property assessment system organizes resources to carry out the primary assessment responsibilities of discovery, listing, and valuing properties in accordance with property tax statutes.
All responsibilities related to assessment are carried out within the Assessor's office. These responsibilities include supervision, handling appeals, appraisal review, and equalization.
Supervision describes a variety of oversight or coordination including fact-finding and analysis, providing appraisal tools and equipment, providing technical and professional services, education and certifying appraisal personnel, and enforcing laws, regulations, and standards.
Appeal refers to the process that a taxpayer may question the appraisal that has been placed on the property that they own.
Appraisal Review describes the examination of the appraised values by the Assessor's office. This office has the power to alter individual appraisals on its own initiative in order to correct clerical errors, assess previously omitted property, exempt property that was assessed in error, and correct appraisal inequities. Appeal refers to the process that a taxpayer may question the appraisal that has been placed on the property that they own.
Equalization describes the process by which the Assessor's office makes adjustments to the total appraised value of the district or of classes of property within the district so that the total appraised values within the jurisdiction all bear the same relationship to the total market value.
- Tax Lien Date January 1 up to March 1 all property is to be reported as of this date.
- The renditions are due by April 1.
- All Freeport filing should be filed by March 31.(They can be post marked March 31.)
- A listing, Depreciation schedule, etc of furniture, fixtures and equipment owned and/or leased in Hinds County by location, description, original year new and original cost new is required to be attached.
- Per Section 27-35-45 a Penalty for failure to list personal property for taxation. (Miscellaneous on Tax Bill)
- If any person shall fail to list for assessment, as required by law, any personal property which is taxable under the laws of the State of Mississippi, and which said person should list for assessment under the laws of the state, or shall intentionally fail to provide the tax assessor with any documentation that the tax assessor considers necessary to verify the list, “THE CURRENT YEAR ASSESSMENT SHALL BE INCREASED BY TEN PERCENT (10%).”
- Per Section 27-35-1 Method of Reporting Inventory.
- Inventory is to be reported as of the tax year or the average monthly inventory during the preceding twelve (12) months from “January 1 of each year…”
- Documentation of inventory is REQUIRED along with this rendition.
- Business personal property not owned by the taxpayer (leased and/or consigned), but in his charge as lessee, executor, administrator, trustee or otherwise, is to be reported by the person having same in charge and separate lists reported for each person.
- Any information shown on the rendition form incorrectly should be corrected showing date when changes occurred.
- If you have acquired or disposed of any items of business personal property during the previous year, list these items on the back of the form.
- The blue rendition is to be returned to the Tax Assessor’s Office, DUE BY APRIL FIRST.
- The renditions don’t have to be notarized nor do they have to be signed in the presence of a Deputy Tax Assessor.
- The mailing address:
HINDS COUNTY TAX ASSESSOR
BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY
P. O. BOX 22908
JACKSON, MS. 39225-2908
- Pursuant to Rule 6, Section C, Person Property Standards, Mississippi State Tax Commission, “Each County is required to physically review and verify at least 25 percent of all person property accounts annually. In each subsequent year, an additional 25 percent of the person property accounts shall be physically reviewed and verified.”
- The Hinds County Tax Assessor’s office is in the process of reviewing business personal property accounts. The appraiser will visit the business and/or set up a time to review the listing with you or a responsible party at the business location in Hinds County.
- A Public Records Request form should be filed out for information from the office.
- The Cost of All Copies/Print-Outs are .50 cent per page.
- The Tax Assessor Office's have the true value of your personal property for the year ready after the first Monday in July.
- If you have justifiable cause and supporting evidence to indicate that this value does not reflect the true value, a representative of this office will be available to discuss the valuation with you through July 31.
- A formal protest must be filed in the Chancery Clerk Office by the first Monday in August at 9:00 A.M.
- Locating and identifying all taxable property in Hinds County and the municipalities located in Hinds County. The primary tools used to locate taxable property in Hinds County are the casdastral maps that plot every parcel of land located in Hinds County. These maps are commonly referred to as the "Ownership Maps". These maps are kept up to date with all deeds that are filed as of January 1 of every year, in respect to the ownership of the property. In the case of Personal Property that is used in a business, there are statutes that prescribe the administrative procedures to locate and identify it. For example the taxpayer is required to file a return listing taxable personal property with the assessor, who then audits the return.
- Making an inventory of the quantity, quality, and important characteristics of all taxable property. To insure the accurate valuation of properties an inventory is essential to the assurance of equity in the taxation of similar properties. In the assessing of real estate, a drawing of the improvements is necessary to establish the size of the improvements. Information that will be used to appraise the property will be gathered at this time. Notes will be taken as to the use of the property and the materials that are used to construct the property.
Estimating the value of each taxable property. The Assessor's office will make use of all appropriate appraisal techniques to estimate value. It is critical that the quality of this estimation be carried out to insure the equitable distribution of the tax burden.
- Determining the extent of taxability of each property. To determine the extent of taxability of each property, the Assessor reviews legislation affecting the taxable status of properties and property owners in Hinds County.
- Calculating the assessed value of each property. The Assessor's office applies the proper assessment ratio to the property so that the property assessment appears on the tax roll. The correct class of the property is determined by the Assessor's office, as prescribed by statute. The different classes of property that are reviewed by this office are Class 1 property, Class 2 property and Class 3 property. Class 1 property is property that is "single family, owner occupied residential property". Class 2 property is all other real estate. Class 3 property is described as personal property in businesses.
- Preparing and certifying the assessment roll of the entire Hinds County. The Assessor lists all properties in Hinds County and then prints the assessment roll in the form that satisfies statutory requirements for preparation of the Assessment Roll. The Assessor must then prepare a certificate (a form regulated by the State Tax Commission) attesting to the sufficiency of the roll and to compliance with the statutory provision for its preparation. The Assessment Roll is then presented to the Hinds County Board of Supervisors by the statutory date set for its delivery. ( First Monday in July)
- Notifying owners of the assessed value of their properties. In the past it has been a policy of the Assessor's Office to notify taxpayers of the appraised value of their property when the new appraisal exceeds the previous years value by $2,000.00 appraised value. Appraisal notices are sent out on newly created assessments also.
- Defending value estimated and valuation methods during appeals by taxpayers. Assessment statutes provide taxpayers with the right to appeal their assessed values. The Assessor's office is always open to the taxpayers request to review their property value at any time of the year. At the time of a formal appeal to the Board of Supervisors, as prescribed in State Law 27-35-89, the Assessor will be prepared to justify all valuations to the satisfaction of the Board of Supervisors and, ideally, to the satisfaction of the taxpayer.
In the State of Mississippi assessment statutes require that assessment rolls be prepared annually, because local property taxes are levied annually and must be based on ownership as of January 1 of the year of assessment.
The Mississippi State Tax Commission has devised a systematic schedule and procedures by which each county in the state reviews the appraisals that are located within each county. These schedules and procedures are designed to keep assessments more equitable and uniform, as well as, valuation of property closer to market value.
The procedure that will be followed by the Hinds County Tax Assessor's office is that 25% of the taxable property in the county will be reviewed every year. This will mean that every parcel in the county will be inspected at least once every 4 years. On residential property, for most cases this will involve a drive by of each property and the house will be compared to the drawings that we have in the office. All the information that is contained on the field sheet will be compared with the building materials, the class of the subject property, and the condition of the property. The only case that the appraiser will need to contact the homeowner is in the event the information contained on the field sheet is different from what is actually observed at each location. The observed condition will be used on houses and commercial building when no other information is available to the appraiser.
A sales ratio is the ratio between the Assessor's appraised value and the actual sales price of the property. In the past, ratio studies were usually made after appraisals were completed. Now at the Hinds County Tax Assessor's office, the collection and analysis of sales data for purposes of internal quality control are an integral part of the local assessment process.
The State Tax Commission does these same ratio studies as part of their job to insure that the counties are within regulations, and to insure that the proper level of assessments are being met as the statutes require.
These ratio studies are performed by the Hinds County Tax Assessor's office and if any problems are found they are corrected so as to maintain all appraised values at the current market levels as of each assessment date.
The Assessor's office is familiar with traditional appraisal methods, real estate markets, capital markets, and local conditions. The staff has technical and professional skills that are needed for building and applying statistical models; management skills for recruiting, training and directing staff; data processing skills for designing and maintaining computer programs; and public relations skills for dealing with the media and the public.