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Reappraisal --- Too Many Letters to be a Four Letter Word. - Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reappraisal --- Too Many Letters to Be A Four Letter Word.

When the word reappraisal is mentioned in a conversation, many times people grimace, become very silent or loudly say a four-letter word. But very few people understand just what reappraisal means. By law, the Louisiana State Legislature acting through the Louisiana Tax Commission requires every assessor in the state to revalue all properties ever four years.

The Big Question ---Why?

For the same reason that bread is no longer a nickel a loaf. Over a period of time cost for materials and labor increase due to inflation and/or supply and demand. For example, a house that cost $35,000 in 1970, would cost approximately $158,400 to construct today. As construction cost rise, so does the value of existing homes. Now, what is the value of that 1970 home today? That is the question that the assessor must answer using good appraisal principals. Certainly not $158,400, because of depreciation, condition, location, local economy, and a host of other variables. Once all of these factors have been analyzed a value can be determined. Such a house can be worth $95,000 to $120,000 assuming that no additions were made and the house is in average condition.

Does Reappraisal Mean Higher Taxes?

This is the question most people assume the answer to be, yes. But the answer is no. In fact, when values rise because of reappraisal, millages must be rolled back (reduced) (Reread the above statement and commit it to memory), because it is required by law. Each taxing district whether it is the parish government, school board, law enforcement, recreation, assessment, lighting, or fire protection cannot collect any more revenue on existing properties than the previous year's tax roll. This means the millages will be lower if the reappraised values are higher, the result of which is a revenue neutral reappraisal. Having said that, it does not mean that if you are not paying taxes now, you wouldn't be paying after reappraisal. For example, if your home is currently at the maximum homestead exemption, $75,000, (property taxes of zero) and after reappraisal it is valued at $85,000, you would then have to pay on the $10,000 over the exempt amount ($85,000 - $75,000 = $10,000 --- approximate taxes of $114).

Please direct questions to the St. James Parish Assessor's Office.

Updated: 11/23/2011


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