County Assessor's Office                  
Assessor Duties


Q:  What is the responsibility of the Assessor in the property tax

A:  County assessors estimate property market values and classify them according to their highest and best use for property tax purposes.  Every year the assessor reviews the market valuation of all properties in each jurisdiction to determine if changes in the real estate market require a change in the estimated market value.  Minnesota law requires that in addition, assessors actually view each parcel of real estate every five years to appraise its market value.  In addition, each year the appraiser inspects parcels with new construction, alterations, or improvements.

Taxing jurisdictions such as the county, schools, cities and townships, adopt budgets after public hearings.  This determines the tax levy, which is used to calculate the rate of taxation required to raise the money budgeted.  The taxes you pay are proportionate to the value and classification of your property district.

The Assessor's responsibility is with market value and classification, NOT TAXES.

The Assessor does not:
        *Collect Taxes
        *Calculate Taxes
        *Determine Tax Rate
        *Establish Property Tax Laws

Q:  What is market value?

A:  Market value is the price a willing, knowledgeable buyer would pay for your property if it were offered for sale on the open market.  The assessor does not create this value, but instead interprets what is happening in the marketplace between buyers, sellers, their agents, mortgage companies, etc.  Values change with economic conditions as well as changes to the property.

Q:  How is market value estimated?

A:  The assessor visits your property to record the existence and character of improvements that contribute to its market value.  The assessor collects sales information on all types of property, and studies characteristics such as location, size of the parcel, improvement and amenities that affect what buyers would pay for your property.  Local sales will impact local values.  The assessor uses actual sales of similar properties in your neighborhood to estimate what buyers would pay for your property.  (A single sale does not make a market.)

Q:  What is classification?

A:  Classification is a definition of how the property is used, determined by its ownership and use.  Classifications such as homestead, timber, commercial, and agricultural describe the primary use of a property, and affect the amount of property tax paid.  By state law, various classes of property are taxed at different rates.  For example, tow neighboring homes of equal value will be taxed at different rates if one is a homestead and one is a seasonal property.  Class rates are created and defined by the Minnesota State legislature.  New homeowners should contact their assessor to apply for the preferential homestead classification rate. 

Q:  How can I judge the accuracy and fairness of my value and classification?

A:  The assessor who values and classifies your property should be your first contact if you have questions or want more information.  If you are not sure who your assessor is, call the county office.  The assessor can review your parcel records with you, review local sales activity, zoning regulations and general market trends.  You can also review how other local properties are valued and classified to judge if your property is fairly valued and classified.  After meeting with your assessor to discuss your concerns there are three levels of appeal available to you if you choose to appeal.  These must be completed in order, unless you choose to go directly to the Regular Division of Minnesota Tax Court.





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