2016 Property Reappraisal Explained

Written by Chris Jackson

This month, you should be receiving your 2016 property tax card in the mail. You may have noticed a change in your taxes this year. That is likely due to the state-mandated property reappraisal that took place this year. Below is some information about the property reappraisal:

WHY IS REAPPRAISAL NECESSARY?

The State of Tennessee mandates the Lawrence County Assessor to conduct reappraisals every six years. Tennessee Code Annotated 67-5-1601 provides for periodic reappraisal and equalization of all real property in Tennessee. Reappraisals allow the Assessor to adjust property values so that every property in Lawrence County is appraised at fair market value. A reappraisal eliminates the inequities created over time by changes in the real estate market, ensuring fairness and equity for all property owners. The last reappraisal prior to this year's occurred in 2010 and the next reappraisal is scheduled for 2022. Property owners are notified by mail of their reappraisal value.

Between reappraisal cycles the Assessor’s staff:

  • Visually inspects all property in Lawrence County so that the Assessor’s assessment records reflect each property’s actual characteristics, such as: square footage, story height, exterior wall type, garage, carport and detached buildings.
  • Verifies all property transfers as they occur in the market place. Appraisers verify each sale in order to ensure it is an arm’s length transaction. These verified sales are recorded in a sales file to compare to properties of similar size, age, location and description to help establish fair and equitable property values.

HOW ARE REAPPRAISAL VALUES CALCULATED

Your 2016 Reappraisal value is based on these key factors:

  • Your property’s use (such as home, business, vacant land, etc.)
  • Your property’s characteristics
  • Location
  • Square Footage (total living area)
  • Age (year of construction)
  • Quality of Construction
  • Amenities (such as bathroom count, garage, carport, vaulted ceilings, etc.

To determine the market value of your property, our team of skilled and professionally trained appraisers:

  • Visually inspect all properties to ensure our records reflect actual characteristics (These exterior inspections have been performed throughout the past six years.)
  • Review and qualify all property transfers occurring within the Reappraisal cycle to ensure it reflects an arm’s length transaction, meaning a sale between two unrelated parties, both seeking to maximize their position from the transaction.
  • Begin valuation analysis using a CAMA system in the sixth-year of the Reappraisal cycle by relying on the qualified sales and property characteristics collected to reflect market value as of January 1, 2016.
  • Analyze current market activities, construction costs and income data according to accepted appraisal practices in accordance to guidelines established by the Tennessee Division of Property Assessments

CERTIFIED TAX RATE

State law also protects property owners from paying more than their fair share of property tax because a reappraisal has occurred. It provides for adjusting the tax rate to a level that would bring in the same amount of revenue county wide as before reappraisal, excluding new construction. This is called the certified tax rate, and it prevents local governments from experiencing a financial “windfall” in reappraisal years at the expense of property owners.

A team of appraisers makes every effort to ensure that all unique characteristics of a property are considered in establishing fair market value. When property owners have a concern regarding their appraisal or classification and do not agree with the Assessor’s value, they should request an Informal Review.

In July of 2016, the Lawrence County Commission adopted the certified tax rate, lowering Lawrence County's property tax rate from $3.06 to $2.9589.