PROPERTY TAX INFORMATION
REAL PROPERTY - Each Assessor's office in Nevada estimates the property's 'taxable' value by considering its location, zoning, actual use, etc. Land values are estimated from market sales of vacant property or other recognized appraisal methods when vacant land sales are limited or non-existent. The taxable value of buildings is the estimated replacement cost new, less depreciation. The land value is added to the improvement's value to arrive at the property's overall taxable value. Taxable value may not exceed a property's 'Full Cash' or market value. Property in Nevada is required to be reappraised (revalued) at least once every five years.
During years not reappraised the values are adjusted with factors approved by the Nevada Tax Commission. Land factors recognize the trend in vacant land sales or general market conditions. Improvement factors recognize the changing costs of construction less 1 1/2% depreciation each year. Additional appraisals may occur when improvements are added, new structures are built or because of use or zoning changes.
If a structure has been removed from the property and the Assessor's office is notified, the Assessor will delete the value from the assessment. Also, if on or after the lien date there was partial or total destruction of an improvement and the property was rendered unusable for not less than 90 consecutive days, the owner of the property may be entitled to an adjustment or credit.
PERSONAL PROPERTY - The personal property tax is calculated by the Assessor's Office using the appropriate statutes and regulations set by the Legislature and the Nevada Tax Commission. Personal property is normally billed on the unsecured roll. In certain instances it can be added to the real property billing if the owner of the personal property also owns the associated real property. Personal property assessment is determined by the Assessor based on the Nevada Tax Commission regulations that set standards for determining the "cost of replacement" of various types of property. The standards must include a separate index of factors that apply to the acquisition cost of billboards, mobile homes, business and agricultural property to determine their replacement cost.
Seven schedules of depreciation for personal property are based on the expected life of the asset. Billboards and mobile/manufactured homes have their own depreciation and cost schedules.
To determine the "cost of replacement" for the purpose of computing the taxable value, the cost of all improvements, any additions or renovations of the personal property but excluding routine maintenance and repairs, must be added to the cost of acquisition. Upon determination of the assessed value, the Assessor applies the applicable tax district's combined property tax rate to the assessed value. The same rate is used for both the secured and unsecured rolls.
HOW PROPERTY TAXES ARE CALCULATED
To compute the property taxes for a parcel of property the assessed valuation is multiplied by the tax rate. The following examples show how the taxes are calculated on a representative house and a typical personal property account based on this formula: Taxable value X 35% = assessed value X rate = property taxes due.
Taxable Value $200,000.00
Assessed Value $70,000.00
Property tax due $2,086.00
Taxable Value $10,000.00
Assessed Value $ 3,500.00
Property tax due $ 104.30
CALCULATING TAX RELIEF WITH THE PROVISIONS OF AB489 TAX RELIEF During the 2005 session of the legislature a tax relief package was passed that caps property tax increases as follows (assuming no change to the property):
Owner occupied primary residences and rental properties charging rates at or below the Department of Housing and Urban Development fair market rents may not have a tax increase from year to year of more than 3%. Parcels may still increase less than 3% or go down.
All other property including vacant, commercial, industrial, second homes and higher rate rentals will be capped at between a low of 2 times the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index and a maximum of 8% depending on the growth rate in each individual County. In Esmeralda County the 2005/20006 cap is 8% based on the 10-year average assessed value growth. Properties in this situation will not exceed a 8% increase.
Property with Changes from the Previous year:
Parcels with new construction, parcel splits and changes in zoning or use may not receive the benefit of the tax cap the first year. These values are considered 'new' to the roll and are taxed at the full rate. A property with some existing and some new value such an addition to an existing house will get a combination of existing value subject to the cap and new value taxed without benefit of the cap.
Reconciling the calculation above with the tax cap. The 2005 legislature did not change the method of property tax assessment or the initial tax calculation. What the legislature did do is to put a limit on how much taxes can increase from year to year. For fiscal year 2005/06 and forward taxes are computed in two steps. First the tax is calculated as figured in the previous example and Second, the prior years taxes are multiplied by the appropriate cap (3% or 8% for Esmeralda County) to determine the maximum tax allowed for the current year. Property taxes cannot exceed the amount established by the second step. Any amount by which the first calculation exceeds the second calculation is termed as an 'abatement'. This abatement is the benefit provided to the taxpayer directly as a result of the legislation.
THE BASIC PURPOSE OF PROPERTY TAX
Property tax, also known as "ad valorem", is based on the value of property, both real and personal. It is used to partially fund the expenditures of local governments including school districts and for the State's bond debt redemption.
THE PROVISIONS GOVERNING PROPERTY TAX
The State Constitution caps the property tax rate at $5.00 per $100.00 of assessed value. It is further capped by statute at $3.64 per $100.00 of assessed value. Property in Nevada is assessed at 35% of its taxable value.
The taxable value of vacant land is determined by considering the use to which it may be lawfully put. The taxable value of improved land is determined by considering the use to which the improvements are being put. The improvements (i.e. buildings) are valued at present replacement cost less depreciation at 1½ percent per year to 50 years. For personal property, depreciation is based on life expectancy. By statute, a local government cannot receive an increase in property tax revenue more than six percent over the maximum revenue allowed for the prior year (excluding new construction).
MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES - Mobile/manufactured homes not converted to real property are considered personal property. To determine taxable value the Personal Property Manual used by the Assessor divides mobile/manufactured homes into two categories, as required by statute.
Homes Sold Prior to July 1, 1982
The Assessor uses the retail-selling price when sold to the original owner, less depreciation at five percent per year to a maximum depreciation of 80 percent of the original acquisition cost.
Homes Sold on or after July 1, 1982
The Assessor uses the acquisition cost to the original owner adjusted by cost factors provided by the Nevada Department of Taxation, less depreciation at five percent per year to a maximum depreciation of 80 percent of the original acquisition cost.
MOTOR VEHICLES - registered in Nevada and operated on highways pay a government services tax instead of personal property tax.
BOATS - operated in Nevada pay a registration fee instead of personal property tax.
BILLBOARDS - the taxable value of a billboard is computed by using the acquisition cost to the current owner adjusted by the cost factors, less depreciation of 1½ percent per year up to a maximum of 50 years.
BUSINESS FIXTURES AND EQUIPMENT - the taxable value is computed by using the acquisition cost to the current owner adjusted by the cost factors as provided and life and depreciation schedules provided by the Department of Taxation.
EXEMPTIONS AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYERS
Partial tax exemptions are available to widows, widowers, veterans, disabled veterans and blind persons who meet certain requirements. These exemptions can be applied to real or personal property taxes or the vehicle government services (privilege) tax. The dollar exemption will vary depending on the taxing district.
The "Senior Citizen Tax Assistance/Rental Rebate" program is available to all Nevada residents 62 years or older whose annual household income is not greater than $25,304 (2005 limit). The amount of the rebate available to the senior is based on a combination of income and tax/rent paid. The rebate cannot exceed $500. The filing period for this program is from mid February to April 30 of each year.
Special exclusions are also provided for residential construction to remove certain barriers for disabled persons.
All exemptions require a six-month residency, which must be documented.
Veterans may request that the value of their exemption be deposited in the State veteran's home fund.
Contact our office to determine any specific qualifications and obtain the form(s) necessary to apply for the exemption(s).
NOTIFICATION OF ASSESSMENT
REAL PROPERTY - Between the middle and the end of December, our office will mail each property owner a "Notice of Assessment" card. In addition, the complete list of real property in the county will be published in a book that is sent to each resident of the County on or before the first day of January. Our office will reopen the assessment roll to specific changes to properties that occur before the upcoming July lien date. This includes such items as new houses and parcel splits.
PERSONAL PROPERTY - Taxpayers with taxable property are required to declare the property to the Assessor's Office each year. Business taxpayers must complete the form upon starting a new business and must declare all additions and deletions in personal property annually. Mobile/manufactured home dealers and re-builders are required to have the buyer sign an acknowledgment of taxes and forward a copy to the County Assessor where the home will be located. The acknowledgment form is supplied by the Manufactured Housing Division to the dealers and re-builders.
NOTE: the failure of the taxpayer to receive an affidavit or declaration form does not relieve the taxpayer from the reporting liability. If the list is not filed the Assessor will make an estimate of the taxable value of the property.
HOW TO FILL OUT THE PERSONAL PROPERTY DECLARATION
The taxpayer should list:
All personal property, owned, rented, leased or controlled as of July 1;
The date of acquisition and the acquisition cost of the property (including installation and set up charges). Items reported should be listed in chronological order;
The property separately by type (desks, chairs, general equipment, electronic/digital equipment, property leased to or by the business, leasehold improvements etc.) because different schedules of depreciation may apply to each type of equipment;
Any items sold, scraped, dismantled or otherwise removed should also be listed in the space provided.
NOTE: Only unregistered vehicles should be included. DO NOT INCLUDE: registered vehicles; inventory held for resale; raw materials held for manufacturing into finished goods; and supplies not meant for resale which are: used up, drained, absorbed, dissipated or expended during the normal day-to-day operation of the business; disposable, with a generally useful life of less than one year, and not depreciated for Federal Tax purposes.
The actual location of the property must be reported and listed separately for each individual location. Any change in name, location or ownership of the business must be reported. The date the business or location was closed or was acquired by another person must be reported. The type of business must be identified (i.e. restaurant, mine, retail store, doctor's office, warehouse, etc.)
If you have any questions or need assistance in filling out the form please contact our office.
HOW THE PROPERTY TAXES ARE COLLECTED
PROPERTY LISTED ON THE SECURED ROLL - Property taxes are collected by the County Treasurer based on the tax bills sent out in July of each year. Each County Treasurer mails each property owner or the mortgage holder an itemized tax bill. The itemization details the individual tax rate for each level of government, which is supported by a property tax rate. If the property tax due is greater than $100, it may be paid in four installments.
PROPERTY TAXES ARE DUE:
August - Third Monday - First Installment
October - First Monday - Second Installment
January - First Monday - Third Installment
March - First Monday - Fourth Installment
PROPERTY LISTED ON THE UNSECURED (SUPPLEMENTAL) ROLL
The Assessor collects the taxes for all property assessed on the unsecured roll. The taxes are calculated in the same manner as are the taxes for property assessed on the secured roll, but they must be paid within 30 days after demand. For mobile/manufactured homes on the unsecured roll, if the bill is greater than $100.00, it may be paid in (4) equal installments.
WHY PROPERTY VALUES CHANGE
REAL PROPERTY - The assessed value can change because of a boundary change, new construction, a change in use, a mandatory five-year reappraisal, factoring in years a reappraisal is not done, inflation or any combination of these factors.
Boundary changes occur when old parcels are either divided or combined.
New construction includes new buildings, additions, remodeling etc.
Changes in use, which include such changes as from residential to office or retail use or from agricultural use to residential lots.
Reappraisal of property, which is done at least once every five years. Improvements are recalculated to current cost of replacement, less depreciation and land is revalued.
Factoring to keep values current with changes in individual properties and local and neighborhood trends. In a non-reappraisal year the prior assessed value of the improvement is multiplied by a factor approved by the Nevada Tax Commission. Land values are also factored to stay current with the market.
A combination of the situations listed above.
PERSONAL PROPERTY- The assessed value of personal property can change because of depreciation, the addition or deletion of items declared and the yearly change in cost factors. That new value when multiplied by the property tax rate may change the property tax due.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PERSONAL PROPERTY
Why do I have to pay personal property tax? I paid the tax when I bought the merchandise.
The tax paid when you purchased the item was the sales and use tax not personal property tax. The law requires all personal property to be taxed unless specifically exempted by law.
ABOUT BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY . . .
What is business personal property?
Generally it is furniture and equipment used in a business. For example: desks, chairs, copy machines, drapes, pictures, filing cabinets, book cases, credenzas, display fixtures, furniture in a reception area, telecommunications, computer, rental, gaming, and x-ray equipment. Call our office if you have any questions.
What if I didn't purchase it?
You are still required to report the acquisition of the personal property.
How can I list the acquisition cost if I don't know it?
You list what the value would be if you had purchased the item.
ABOUT MANUFACTURED HOMES . . .
Why are manufactured homes taxed as personal property?
All manufactured homes, trailers or vehicles not registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles are subject to the tax. All personal property is taxable unless specifically exempted by law.
Why are my taxes higher than my neighbors?
Several factors are possible. The most likely are age and size of the home.
ABOUT UNREGISTERED VEHICLES . . .
Why are unregistered vehicles taxed as personal property?
All personal property unless specifically exempt by law is taxable. Unregistered vehicles are any vehicles not registered by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Examples include: mini motor homes, travel trailers, and off road motor vehicles owned or used by a business.
HOW TO QUESTION AN ASSESSMENT
If, in your opinion, the taxable value of your property shown on the "Notice of Assessment" seems excessive, or you have any questions, call or come to our office immediately and speak with an appraiser. More often than not your question or problem can be taken care of at this level.
The County Assessor must, upon the request of the property owner furnish, within 15 days, a copy of the most recent appraisal of the property. The depreciation tables and cost indexes used can also be obtained by contacting our office. A reasonable fee is allowed to be charged for copying the information.
If you are unable to resolve your problem you can appeal to the County Board of Equalization to adjust your property's assessed value. For the specific time frames for real or personal property appeals see below. The appeal forms may be obtained by contacting our office or the Nevada Department of Taxation.
NOTE: The role of the Assessor concerns property valuations ... not property tax rates.
Questions concerning your tax rates or taxes should be directed to your locally elected officials.
APPEALS TO THE BOARD(S) OF EQUALIZATION
REAL PROPERTY - The value of the real property (property on the secured roll) must be contested by January 15 by the filing of an appeal. Unless the value is contested, the "Notice of Assessment" will be the base upon which your property tax for the next fiscal year is determined.
PERSONAL PROPERTY - For property assessed prior to December 15, you can file an appeal with the County Board of Equalization prior to January 15. For property assessed after December 15, the appeal is filed directly to the State Board of Equalization. The appeal must be filed no later than May 15. Even though you file an appeal, because of the time frames involved you have to pay the personal property tax which is due prior to having your appeal heard. You must file a formal protest in writing. Nevada law requires that the protest must be in triplicate and filed the same time as your tax payment. Failure to pay the taxes due will result in interest and penalties being imposed.
HOW TO APPEAL BEFORE THE COUNTY BOARD OF EQUALIZATION
Nevada Revised Statutes and the Nevada Administrative Code govern the procedures for filing an appeal before the County and State Boards of Equalization. The time frames for filing and hearing the appeals, the requirements for the information that must be contained in the appeals and the Boards' authority to change valuations are statutory requirements. The Boards of Equalization can only consider issues of valuation (assessments) not tax rates or taxes. Further, the Boards cannot reduce the valuation of your property because of a financial hardship.
TO OBTAIN A COPY OF THE APPEAL FORM (PETITION):
Contact our office as soon as practical. We will need to have owner name, parcel number(s) or physical address. If there is more than one parcel or if they are under different ownership you will need to obtain and file a separate appeal for each parcel. Appeals must be filed no later than January 15 with our office. Hearings before the Esmeralda County Board of Equalization will be scheduled as necessary but will be concluded on or before February 28.
You will be notified in writing of your hearing date and time at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing. Hearings are conducted in accordance with Nevada's Open Meeting Law and the Nevada Administrative Procedures Act.
It is not necessary to be represented by an attorney or an accountant before the Board; however a person who makes an appeal on behalf of the owner of the property must have written authorization signed by the owner. If you hire an attorney to represent you the attorney must be licensed to practice before the highest court of any state of the United States (NAC 361.698).
HOW TO PREPARE AND PRESENT AN APPEAL TO THE BOARD
Complete all the information on the appeal form including the owner's opinion of market value. Incomplete appeal forms may be returned to the taxpayer. If you have any questions about filling out the form contact this office for assistance. To change the taxable value, you must provide evidence that proves the market value of the property is less than the taxable value of the property, or that the classification or purpose for which the property is used was not considered by the Assessor. The burden of proof is on you to show that the property is overvalued and that the taxable value exceeds full cash value. It is not sufficient to simply say the Assessor's value is incorrect. You must state the correct value and present evidence to support the value you claim.
Proof may consist of evidence that:
Recent sales of similar properties in the vicinity that are less than the taxable value of your property
Adverse factors affecting the value have not been considered in determining the taxable value
The fair economic income expectancy of the property does not justify the valuations
An error has been made in computing the taxable value
Any combination of the above
NOTE: Current costs of construction do not necessarily substantiate comparison to the taxable value. If you do your own construction, the cost of construction will be based on industry standards, not just your own costs.
If you present an appraisal to back up your claim, the appraisal must be from a licensed or certified Nevada appraiser. The County Board may set time limits for appeals and may limit redundant or irrelevant testimony. Consideration will be given to the fact that complex appeals may require more time to establish a record to permit further appeals. If you wish to have a verbatim transcript of the hearing you must provide and pay for a court reporter. A copy of the transcript must be provided to the Secretary if it is to be part of the record (prior to a subsequent appeal or hearing).
HOW TO PRESENT TESTIMONY AND EVIDENCE FOR THE COUNTY BOARD OF EQUALIZATION
A representative from the District Attorney or County Clerk will administer the oath to the people who wish to speak.
The Assessor will make a brief presentation for the sole purpose of identifying the property in question, the general neighborhood or area in which the property is located and any other information necessary to orient and familiarize members of the County Board with your property.
You or your representative present the reasons and evidence to establish that the market value of the property is less than the taxable value computed for your property as shown on the "Notice of Value".
The Assessor will present evidence supporting the Assessor's opinion of the taxable value of the property and rebuttal evidence.
You are allowed to rebut the evidence presented by the Assessor.
At the conclusion of the appeal, the County Board may deliberate and consider the matter immediately or may defer the time for decision until other appeals have been completed. If you are not given a decision at the time of hearing you shall be notified in writing of the Board's decision no later than ten (10) days after the decision has been rendered. You will also be notified of the procedure for appealing to the State Board of Equalization.
NOTE: If a change is determined to be warranted, the change so made is effective only for the fiscal year for which the assessment was made. Each year the County Assessor reviews all changes made for the previous fiscal year and maintains or removes each change as circumstances warrant.
WHO PAYS PROPERTY TAX?
REAL PROPERTY - is paid by the owners of the land and buildings and other improvements, which are permanently affixed to land.
PERSONAL PROPERTY - is paid by all persons, firms or businesses located or doing business in Nevada, owning, renting, leasing or controlling business personal property; the owners of mobile/manufactured homes not converted to real property; and the owners of aircraft and billboards.
DEFINING PROPERTY IN NEVADA
REAL PROPERTY - Land, buildings and improvements which are not normally removable and mobile/manufactured homes that have been converted to real property.
PERSONAL PROPERTY - All property not permanently affixed to land, such as aircraft, business equipment, agricultural equipment, billboards, etc., and mobile/manufactured homes not converted to real property.
For any questions about property tax assessment please do not hesitate to call our office at 775-485-6380.
Terminology is listed separately in the Glossary