Reassessment

What is 'Reassessment'

A reassessment refers to a periodic reevaluation of a property’s value for tax purposes. State and local governments assess property taxes based on two variables: property values and tax rates. Local laws vary, but reassessment generally takes place every one to five years or when a property changes hands. Some municipalities also reassess in the event of a refinancing.

BREAKING DOWN 'Reassessment'

Reassessment is a process overseen by state or local government as part of the property tax process. The local authority hires an assessor to personally visit the property. The assessor collects a set of quantitative measurements specific to the property. These include lot and building size, number of bedrooms and stories and physical improvements such as a swimming pool. The assessor then factors these attributes into a localized formula that takes into account recent sales of comparable properties, the rental market and replacement value of the structures on the property.  

Property values rise and fall with the tides of local economies, and not all property values within a single district move in unison. Because of this unaligned fluctuation in property values, districts with less-frequent reassessment rates risk doing a poorer job of assessing fair taxes on property owners. States that mandate annual reassessments include Georgia, Arizona and Michigan. Others, such as Hawaii, New Hampshire and New York, have no requirement for periodic reassessments. These states tend to leave reassessments up to local districts.

Assessment Rate and Mill Levy

Some states or taxing authorities incorporate an assessment rate, or assessment percentage, and mill levy into the formula used to reassess a property’s value. The assessment rate is a percentage that is applied to the overall property value to determine the taxable value of the property. For example, a property determined to have a value of $500,000 may sit in district which uses a 60 percent assessment rate and a tax rate of four percent. Before the tax rate is applied, the taxable value is set at $300,000 ($500,000 x 0.6). The state will then apply its property tax rate to the taxable value ($300,000 x .04 = $12,000 property tax).

A mill levy is a rate that a local authority establishes to determine a property tax rate. To calculate the necessary rate, the local government determines how much it needs to collect in order to fund local services such as road maintenance and public school operations. The aggregate value of these costs is divided by the total value of all property within the district. This gives the taxing authority a rate which it will assess as a tax on all properties within a district.