DEFINITION of 'Assessor'

A local government official who determines the value of a property for local real estate taxation purposes. Assessors are trained to determine the fair market value of property. The figures that they derive will be used to calculate future property taxes. The assessor estimates the value of real property within a city, town or village's boundaries. This value is converted into an assessment, which is one component in the computation of real property tax bills.

These government officials maintain assessments at a uniform percentage of market value annually. An assessor signs an oath to this effect when certifying the tentative assessment roll. The assessment roll is a document containing each property assessment. Each year, assessors are required to keep current the physical description (or inventory) and value estimate of every parcel.

BREAKING DOWN 'Assessor'

For example, to become an assessor in New York State, a person has to get a basic certification within three years of taking office. Assessors in some states are not required to obtain basic certification. The certification requires successful completion of orientation, three assessment administration course components and five appraisal components, including farm appraisal for certain agricultural communities. The New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services (ORPTS) sets the components. Appointed assessors are required to complete an average of 24 hours of continuing education.

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