Step One: Locate & Identify

Real Property

  1. Discovery of the buildings and other improvements made to real property is generally accomplished by field inspection of the property.
  2. Building permits issued by local governments, but on site visits by the assessor during and after construction are required to collect current, pertinent data.
  3. Conveyances of title, subdivision maps, ownership maps from the state Land office, and records of the federal Bureau of Land Management are also important sources of information.

Personal Property

  1. The owner files an annual personal property tax return with the Assessor. This return describes the cost, age, and type of taxable personal property acquired or disposed of during the year.
  2. The Assessor conducts an office audit of the owner's personal property return, possibly supplemented with an on site inspection.

Step Two: List

Real and Personal Property

  1. Listing or making an inventory of the quantity, quality, and important characteristics of all taxable property.
  2. This also involves assigning a unique number in the assessor's parcel numbering system (a parcel number) and recording essential related information such as ownership.

Step Three: Estimate Value

Real Property

Assessors use three basic appraisal approaches to estimating value:

  • The cost approach
  • The sales comparison approach
  • The income approach

Step Four: Determine Taxability

Real & Personal Property

  1. Property may be classed as real, personal, or exempt.
  2. Exempt property is generally listed and valued, as the exemption status may change from year to year.
  3. To determine the extent of taxability of each property, the Assessor must review legislation affecting the taxable status of properties and property owners in the county.
  4. Legal classes of use must also be determined.

Step Five: Calculate Limited Property Value

Real & Personal Property

This process involves applying statutory formulas to the full cash value (FCV) to arrive at limited property value (LPV) and applying the appropriate ratio to determine assessed value.

Step Six: Notification

  1. By March 1 of each year, the Assessor must notify each property owner in the county of the proposed valuation of each parcel of real property.
  2. The owner currently has 60 days to submit a petition for review of the valuation.

Step Seven: Preparation & Certification of the Assessment Rolls

  1. The Assessor is responsible for submitting the lists of county properties and the certified assessment rolls to the County Board of Supervisors.
  2. The County Assessor prepares abstracts of the final assessment roll for each city, town, or other special taxing district in the county.
  3. These abstracts list, identify, and show the value for property within that jurisdiction.
  4. They are delivered to the governing body of that district for the purpose of identifying the tax base upon which property taxes may be levied.

Step Eight: Defend Values

  1. The County Assessor and staff are expected to defend the basis for any property valuation at any level of the appeal process.
  2. The Assessor has the statutory authority to attend any Board of Equalization hearing and present evidence to support the valuation of the property in question.
  3. They should be prepared to justify all valuations and methods to the satisfaction of the appeal body and, ideally, to the satisfaction of the taxpayer.

Step Nine: Correct Errors

A.R.S.§ 42-16251 through 16252 allows the Assessor to make changes and correct errors in the identification, classification or valuation of property. The statute sets forth specific conditions under which changes may be made and applies to factual errors occurring in previous valuation years.

Step Ten: Repeat This Process Annually

The duties of the Assessor follow an annual cycle.

Senior Property Valuation Protection Option

  1. Proposition 104 provides got the "freezing" of valuation of homes owned by seniors who meet all of the following requirements:
    1. At least one of the owners must be 65 years of age at the time the application is filed. A copy of proof of age (driver's license, birth certificate, passport, etc.)
    2. The property must be the primary residence of the taxpayer. For purposes of this application "Primary Residence" is defined as the residence that is occupied by the taxpayer for an aggregate of nine months of the calendar year.
    3. The owner must have resided in the primary residence for at least two years prior to applying for the option.
    4. The owner(s) total income from all sources, including non-taxable income, cannot exceed the amount specified by law (2007 tax year is 29,904 for an individual and 37,380 for a couple).
    5. The application must be filed by September 1st of the first tax year in which the value will be frozen.
    6. First-time applicants must appear in person with all documentation for proof of age, residence and income.
  2. If the owners meets all of these requirements and the County Assessor approves the application, the valuation of the primary residence will remain fixed for a three-year period. To remain eligible, the owner is required to renew the option during the last six months of the three-year period upon receipt of a notice of reapplication from the County Assessor. The freeze terminates if the owner sells the home or otherwise become ineligible and the property reverts to its current full cash value as determined by the County Assessor.
  3. It is important to know that, while the Valuation will be frozen as long as the owner remains eligible, Taxes for the primary residence will not be frozen and will continue to be levied at the same rate as all other properties in the taxing district.

Golf Course Reporting

  1. A.R.S. §42-13152 requires golf course owners or managers to provide information regarding the number of actual rounds of golf played each month during the most recent 12 months ending July 31. Actual rounds include all paid, complimentary and discounted rounds played by members, non-member or the general public. This information will be used to calculate economic obsolescence for property tax purposes. In order to receive the economic obsolescence adjustment, you must return the form to your County Assessor no later then September 30. Owner of multiple courses must report each course separately. The information is subject to verification.
  2. Two forms must be filled out: DOR 82365A Rounds Played and a Declaration of Restrictions for Golf Course Use form.