The Appraiser's Office is responsible for discovering, listing, and valuing all taxable property. Appraisers are responsible to individual property owners to ensure that the value is proper, so the owner pays no more than his/her fair share of property taxes. The County Appraiser is also responsible to all people in ensuring that no property escapes the assessment process, and that no property owner receives unauthorized preferential treatment.
Homes, commercial real property, and certain other property categories are appraised at "market value" as of the first of January each year. Market value is the amount of money a well-informed buyer would pay and a well-informed seller would accept, for property in an open and competitive market, without any outside influence. Land devoted to agricultural use is appraised at "use value. Use value is derived by an income approach based on returns to the landlord on all types of farm ground. Light passenger motor vehicles, commercial and industrial machinery and equipment are appraised using a value based method; however, it is not "market value”.
“Fair market value is the amount in terms of money that a well-informed buyer is justified in paying and a well-informed seller is justified in accepting for property in an open and competitive market, assuming that the parties are acting without undue compulsion.”
The value of your home may change each year. It depends on market conditions, improvements to your property, etc. The County Appraiser continually reviews and records sale prices, and other information on all homes in the county.
Factors that could cause the difference are square footage, condition, etc. Also, your neighbor's property may be valued too low instead of your value being too high. The goal is to value all houses at the value they would sell for on the open market. Reappraisal is an ongoing process where both undervalued and overvalued properties are being adjusted to their market value.
One sale by itself does not determine market value. A single sale may not represent the market value. The price you paid for your house is verified by the County Appraiser and then considered, along with the sales of similar properties. The appraiser uses this information to appraise your home.
You can visit the County Appraiser's Office to review information on similar properties and verify that the information the appraiser's office has on your home is correct. If a neighbor has a similar house which recently sold, the sale price may also give you an indication of the value of your house. In addition, real estate professionals can provide information about market conditions in your area.
Use one of two ways to challenge the value of your property:
If you feel the value the Appraiser has placed on your property is incorrect, you may wish to inspect the Appraiser’s records on your property. If you choose to file an appeal, you should provide information and documentation to support your estimate of value. Information such as a recent independent appraisal, recent sales of similar homes in your neighborhood, similar homes that are currently on the market, photos and contract/engineering estimates of the cost to repair any structural damage, or a written estimate from a real estate professional will all lend support and credibility to your opinion of value.
If your property value goes up, it does not necessarily mean you will pay more taxes. Likewise, if your property value goes down or does not change, it does not automatically mean you will pay less or the same amount of taxes. Changes in property taxes are based in large part on how much your local government decides to spend on services each year.
The mill levy is the tax rate that is applied to the assessed value. In general terms, the mill levy is determined by dividing the dollars needed for local services by the assessed property value in the service area. An additional amount is then added for public schools. After the local government budgets are published and hearings are completed, the County Clerk computes the final mill levies for each tax unit and certifies the tax roll to the County Treasurer for collection.
Looking at your notice of value, find the assessed value. Multiply the assessed value by your mill levy and then divide by 1,000 to estimate the property tax you owe. You can find your mill levy on last year's tax statement or contact the County Clerk.
PO Box 507
Independence, KS 67301
Phone: (620) 330-1050
Fax: (620) 330-1117
Hours: Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm
Located on the second floor of the County Courthouse.