Richland Parish Assessor
Frequently Asked Questions

How Is Your Property Assessed?

To find the value of any piece of property the assessor must first know:

  • the selling price of similar properties
  • the cost to replace it today
  • how much it takes to operate and keep it in repair
  • what rent it may earn
  • many other economic factors affecting its value, such as the current rate of interest charged for borrowing the money to buy or build similar properties

Using these facts, the assessor can then go about finding the property’s value in three different ways.

Sale Comparison Approach:

The first method compares your property to others that have sold recently. These prices, however, must be analyzed very carefully to get the true picture. One property may have sold for more than it was really worth because the buyer was in a hurry and would pay any price. Another may have sold for less money than it was actually worth because the owner needed cash right away. The property was sold to the first person who made an offer.

When using the Sales Comparison Approach, the assessor must always consider such over pricing or under pricing and analyze many sales to arrive at a fair valuation of your property. Size, quality, condition, location, and time of sale are also important factors to consider.

Cost Approach:

A second way to value your property is based on how much money it would take, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property with one similar. If your property is not new, the assessor must also determine how much it has depreciated. In addition, the assessor must estimate how much a lot like yours would be worth if vacant.

Income Approach:

The third way is to evaluate how much income your property would produce if it were rented as an apartment house, a store, or a factory. The assessor must consider operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and the return most people would expect on your type of property.

When Should I Discuss My Assessment With The Assessor’s Office?

Each year between August 15th and September 15th, the Assessor must open the assessment rolls for a two week peiod during this time frame. The assessment rolls are open for public inspection and for discussion of the assessment with the assessor’s office. This is the time to discuss your assessment. It also is the time that a taxpayer can legally file a protest to the assessment if a settlement with the assessor cannot be reached. Many taxpayers wait until the tax bills are sent each year to discuss their assessment. The assessor will discuss your assessment at that time but a property owner cannot legally file a protest at that time. Check Assessor's calendar for the date of the inspection.

What Causes Property Values To Change?

A property’s value can change for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that the property changes. A bedroom, garage, or swimming pool is added, or part of the property is destroyed by flood or fire. The most frequent cause of change in value is a change in the market. If a city’s major industry leaves, property values can collapse. As decaying neighborhoods with good housing stock are discovered by young homebuyers, prices gradually rise, and then may soar as the neighborhood becomes fashionable. A shortage of detached houses in a desirable city neighborhood can send prices to ridiculous level. In a recession, larger homes may stay on the market for a long time, but more affordable homes are in demand, so their prices rise. In a stable neighborhood, with no extraordinary pressure from the market, inflation may increase property value.

Why Can Assessed Values Change From Year To Year?

When a market value changes, naturally so does assessed value. For instance, if you were to add a garage to your home, the assessed value would increase. However, if your property is in poor repair, the assessed value would decrease. The assessor has not created the value. People make value by their transactions in the market place. The assessor simply has the legal responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.

What Are My Rights And Responsibilities?

If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessor’s, please come to our office and discuss this matter. My staff will be glad to answer your questions about the appraisal and explain how to appeal if you cannot come to an agreement. The assessor’s office relies on the property owner for information. You can help by providing accurate information. If you feel your taxes are too high, you should make your opinion known to the proper taxing authorities. Ask about your eligibility for special exemptions.

When Should I File A Homestead Exemption Application?

The Homestead Exemption Application should be filed after January 1st and before December 31st, qualifying early ensures your tax notice will be correct. To qualify for a homestead exemption the owner must be the bona fide owner and reside thereon, to qualify for homestead exemption for that year. If you move you need to notify my office that you no longer qualify for that homestead. If you move to a new home and qualify for a homestead exemption you may notify us when you come into our office to file for new homestead exemption.

What Are The Qualifications To Apply For The Special Assessment Level Freezes?

A Special Assessment level applies to the homestead of persons meeting the following criteria and your adjusred gross household income is $60,498.00o r less (for 2007). This special assessment level freezes the assessed value for each year the owner applies and receives this Special Assessment. To qualify you must bring proof of income for the previous year such as a Tax Return of the Social Security Benefits Earnings Statement. This Special Assessment Level is lost if the property is transferred, improvements are made in excess of 25% of property value, if the owner’s adjusted gross income exceeds the set level. The surviving spouse can qualify if they are over 55 and meet the other qualifications of the exemption.

Special Qualifications for 65 and older Freeze:

You must be 65 years of age or older to apply for this freeze. This freeze is a permanent freeze. You do not have to sign up each year. After meeting the above listed requirements, you do not have to come in each year to reapply.

Special Qualifications for persons with disabilities Freeze:

This freeze will apply to persons with a 100% disability of for Veterans with 50% or more disability. There is no age qualification for this freeze. This freeze must be applied for each year, and the individual applying for the freeze must provide to the Assessors's Office with documentation that proves the amount of disability that the indivisual has.These persons must als meet the income requiement listed above.

What Is The Relationship Between Market Value And Assessed Value For Property In Louisiana?

In Louisiana, the classification of property subject to ad valorem taxation and the percentage of fair market value applicable to each classification for the purpose of determining assessed value are as follows:

Land: 10% FMV
Improvements for Residential: 10% FMV
Improvements for Commercial: 15% FMV
Business Movable Property (Personal): 15% FMV
Public Service (Excluding Land): 25% FMV

Bona fide agricultural, horticultural, marsh and timberlands as defined by Revenue Statues shall be assessed for tax purposes at 10% of use value rather than market value. The Louisiana Tax Commission sets these values. The Use Value Application is available on this web site under Forms.

What Is Meant By Millage Rates Or Mills?

Millage is the percentage of value that is used in calculating taxes. A mill is defined as 1/10 of 1 percent and is multiplied by the assessed value after any exemptions have been subtracted to calculate the taxes. For example: if the tax rate is 150 mills and total assessed value is $10,000 with no exemptions, the taxes would be calculated as $10,000 x .150 = $1,500.00. If for the same house you had a homestead exemption the taxes would be: $10,000 - $7,500(H.E.) = $2,500.00 x .150 = $375.00 in taxes. This demonstrates the importance of filing a homestead exemption.

What Causes Adjustments to Millage Rates?

Changes in millage rates occur under four circumstances:

  1. If the voters approve a millage increase.
  2. If the legislature approves the creation of a special district and grants authority to levy a millage.
  3. If the Board of Liquidation/City Debt adjusts the millage rate needed to collect the amount required to service its general obligation bonds. When new bonds are issued this millage increases and as older bonds mature this millage rate decreases.
  4. Every four years the Assessors must reassess real property. State law provides that the tax collected in the year following a reassessment is adjusted so that it is equal to the tax collected the previous year on the same property tax base. The amount of millage is then adjusted up or down to satisfy this requirement. If the millage is lowered because of an increase in property values, it may be “rolled up” to the prior year’s millage after a public hearing and approval by a 2/3 vote of the taxing authority. The Assessors also must reassess personal property every year and the Louisiana Tax Commission reappraises public service property every year.

What is Personal Property?

A. Personal Property or movable property, includes all things other than real estate which have any pecuniary value, all moneys, credits, investments in bonds, stocks, franchises, shares in joint stock companies or otherwise (R.S. 47:1702 and R.S. 47:2322).

B. Personal property will mean tangible property that is capable of being moved or removed from real property without substantial damage to the property itself or the real property from which it is capable of being removed. Personal property will include, but not be limited to, inventory, furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment, and all process and manufacturing machinery and equipment, including the foundation therefore (R.S. 47:2322).

What are some examples of Business Personal Property?

Telephone Systems Fax Machines Copy Machines
Desks and Chairs Computers Postage Meters
Shelving and Racks Plant Machinery Storage Tanks
Refrigeration Units High Loaders Tools/Dies/Molds
Industrial Equipment Manufacturing Equipment Materials and Supplies
Satellite Equipment Minerals Inventories
Watercraft Aircraft Bank Shares
Cranes Leasehold Improvements Oil and Gas Properties

What Is Fair Market Value?

Fair market value, is the selling price for property, which would be agreed upon between a willing and informed buyer and a willing and informed seller under usual and ordinary circumstances. (R.S. 47:2321).

A. The criteria for determining fair market value will apply uniformly throughout the state. Uniform Guidelines, procedures and rules and regulations as necessary to implement said criteria will be adopted by the Louisiana Tax Commission only after public hearings held pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. R.S. 47:2323(A).

B. Each assessor will follow the uniform guidelines, procedures, and rules and regulations within his respective parish or district in determining fair market value of all property subject to taxation. Any manual or manuals used by an assessor will be subject to approval by the Louisiana Tax Commission or its successor agency. (R.S. 47:2323 (B).

C. The fair market value of real and personal property will be determined by the following generally recognized appraisal procedures: the market approach, the cost approach, and/or the income approach.

Who Must Report Business Personal Property?

Every person, association, company or corporation who will own or hold, subject to his or her control, any tangible or intangible business personal property will list said property for assessment every year.

How Does the Assessor Collect Data?

A. The assessor may use self-reporting forms to gather data necessary to determine fair market value. A self-reporting form will be returned to the assessor by the first day of April, or 45 days after receipt, whichever is later (R.S. 47:2324).

B. By failing to file a report when it is due, a property owner loses the right to appeal the appraisal by the assessor (R.S. 47:2329). If the failure to file is intentional, a penalty of 10 percent of the tax due will be imposed (R.S. 47:2330(A). If a taxpayer files a false report with the intent to defraud, a penalty of 10 percent of the tax due will be imposed (R.S. 47:2330 (A).

How Are Taxes Figured On Business Personal Property?

If the fair market value of your business personal property is $5000, and the fixed percentage of assessment is 15%, this would mean the assessed value would be $750. ($5000 x .15 = $750)

Once taxing groups (school districts, cities, etc.) set their mill levy, this amount is used to calculate your taxes.

Let’s assume the combined mill levy (tax rate) has been set at 170 mills. Multiply the assessed value of your property ($750) by the mill levy (170 mills or .170). The answer is $127.50, which is your share of the costs of public services.

For Example

$5000 Market Value X .15 Assessment Ratio = $750 Assessed Value (A.V.) X .170 Mill Levy (170 mills per $1000 A.V.) = 127.50 Tax Amount Due