Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How are property taxes created?

Your personal property tax all depends on the taxing district you are in, as well as other aspects like Fair Market Value.

For more answers to your questions regarding taxes and the Assessor’s office, please read the FAQs below.

  • How is my assessment determined?
  • How is property assessed?
  • What does the Assessor do?
  • What if I disagree with the Assessor’s value of my property?

Q: How is my assessment determined?
A: To arrive at “Fair Market Value” for your property, the Assessor must know what “willing sellers” and “willing buyers” are doing in the marketplace. He must also keep current on cost of construction in the area and any changes in zoning, financing, and economic conditions which may affect property values. The Assessor uses the three nationally recognized appraisal approaches to value, those being cost, income, and market. This data is then correlated into a final value estimate by the Appraiser. After your appraisal has been made, the appropriate percentage of value required by law is calculated as your “Assessed Value.”

Q: How is property assessed?
A: LAND – 10% of “Fair Market Value”
RESIDENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS – 10% of “fair market value”
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY – (Including personal property) – 15% of “Fair Market Value” (NOTE: Commercial land is assessed at 10% of “Fair Market Value”.)

The St. Tammany Parish Assessor’s Office must appraise and assess approximately 102,000 parcels of property. All public service properties are assessed by the Louisiana Tax Commission.
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Q: What does the Assessor do?
A: The Assessor is required by the Louisiana Constitution to list, value and enumerate all property subject to ad valorem taxation on an Assessment Roll each year. The “ad valorem” basis for taxation means that all property should be taxed “according to value” which is the definition of ad valorem. The Assessed Value is a percentage of “Fair Market Value” or “Use Value” as prescribed by law.
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Q: What if I disagree with the Assessor’s value of my property?
A: As a property owner, you have a right to appeal your assessment. To appeal your assessment you must contact your Assessor’s Office. It would be helpful to provide information such as a recent appraisal, an opinion of value from a Licensed Realtor or any information documenting adverse conditions that may directly affect the value of your property. If, after discussing the matter with the Assessor, a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal your assessment to the St. Tammany Board of Review. If the Board, after hearing your petition, agrees with the Assessor, you may appeal this decision to the Louisiana State Tax Commission. If the Commission agrees with the Board and the Assessor, you can then plead your case before the courts should you choose to do so.

Q: What are the grounds for an appeal?
A: If you believe the estimated value of your property is incorrect, you will want to know:

  • How the assessor values property
  • How to gather information about your property and similar properties
  • How the appeals process works and what the deadlines are

You also have a responsibility to furnish accurate information about your property to the assessor.

An assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher taxes. It is an attempt to prove that your property’s estimated market value is either inaccurate or unfair.

You may appeal when you can prove at least one of three things:

  • Items that affect value are incorrect on your property record. You have one bath, not two. You have a carport, not a garage. Your home has 1,600 square feet, not 2,000 square feet.
  • The estimated market  value is too high. You have evidence that similar properties have sold for less than the estimated market value of your property.
  • The estimated market value of your property is accurate but inequitable because it is higher than the estimated value of similar properties.

Note: You will not win an appeal because you think your taxes are too high. This is an issue you must take up with the officials who determine budgets and set your millage rates .

However, you may be eligible for tax relief or exemptions. The assessor’s office can give you information about exemptions.

Q: What is the role of taxing authorities?
A: Taxing authorities decide the amount of the property tax that is owed each year, including whether the overall property tax rises, falls, or stays the same. Subject to state and local limitations, the taxing authority can determine property taxes either by adjusting the total dollars requested or by adjusting (or not adjusting) the tax rate. The amounts set by the taxing authority in combination with your assessed value determine how much you pay in taxes.

For example, suppose taxing authorities decide to raise $1 million in property taxes and the assessor estimates the total assessed value of all taxable property in your community at $100 million.

Then the property tax rate would be calculated by dividing the amount of tax to be raised by the total assessed value:

$1 million/$100 million = 1 percent.

If your home’s assessed value is $100,000, your property tax bill will be:

1 percent x $100,000 = $1,000.

For another example, suppose the total assessed value of your community doubles from $100 million to $200 million and the amount to be raised stays the same. The tax rate will be:

$1 million/$200 million = 0.5 percent.

Your taxes, even though your home has doubled in value, will be the same:

0.5 percent x $200,000 = $1,000.

Sometimes, property owners are lucky enough to experience growth in the value of their properties while others remain the same or even fall. In these instances, property owners may experience higher taxes even if all other factors stay the same. For example, suppose your home doubles in value from $100,000 to $200,000 but the amount requested by the taxing authority remains at the same at $1 million and the overall assessed value of your community remains the same at $100 million. Then the tax rate will be:

$1 million/$100 million = 1 percent.

However, your taxes will increase from:

1 percent x $100,000 = $1,000

                  To

1 percent x $200,000 = $2,000.

Property taxes can also increase when your community’s assessed value increases and the taxing authority chooses to keep the tax rate the same.

For example, if the taxing authority decides to keep the tax rate at 1 percent even though it could have raised the same amount of overall taxes at 0.5 percent, then your taxes will be:

1 percent x $200,000 = $2,000.

The taxing authorities are demanding more money, even though they have not changed the rate.