Tuesday, October 21, 2014
     
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 Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Why is property taxed in Kansas?
Your tax dollars are used by local government to provide funding for roads, parks, fire protection, police protection, health and other services. Property taxes also fund public school districts. All property tax dollars received by the state are redistributed to public school districts or to educational building funds.

2.  What does the County Appraiser do?
By law the County Appraiser is responsible for listing and valuing property in a uniform and equal manner. The appraiser determines the appropriate value of your property. The amount of taxes you pay depends on the budgets set by local government, special assessments and an amount collected by the state and redistributed to public schools.  The appraiser does not establish mill levies.

3.  How does the county's appraisal affect my taxes?
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.


4.  Will the value of my home change every year?
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 homes all over the county.

5.  What is property appraised at?
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, and commercial and industrial machinery and equipment are appraised using a value based method, however it is not "market value".


6.  How does the County Appraiser determine market value?
When valuing your home, the appraiser determines the age, quality, location, condition, style and size of your property. The appraiser then uses one or more of the following three methods to value real property.  The comparable sales approach: sales of similar property are compared to each other. The appraiser then adjusts for differences (for example, one house may have more square footage than another). This method works well for valuing homes. The cost approach: the cost to replace your property is adjusted for age and condition. This approach works well for new and unique properties. The income approach: in general terms, income from rent is used to value property. This method works well for income producing properties (for example, apartment buildings and most commercial properties.

7.  Does the County Appraiser visit my home?
State law requires the County Appraiser to view and inspect all property in the county once every six years. Your county appraiser may view and inspect your property more than once every six years due to market conditions and for quality control. It is the owner's responsibility to report to this office when a building is destroyed, burned, etc..

8.  If I bought my house last year, shouldn't the value be the same as what I paid for it?
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 sales of similar properties. The appraiser uses this information to appraise your home.

9.  When will I be notified of the value of my property?
Notices of value are sent to the owner, as recorded in the Register of Deeds Office, typically by March 1 for real property.  If the county has been granted an extension, this date may vary.


10.  How can I determine if the appraisal of my home is accurate?
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.  Local market trends may or may not be the same as market trends at the national level.


11.  What can I do if I do not believe the value of my property is correct?
Use one of two ways to challenge the value of your property: you may appeal the "notice of value" of you property by contacting the County Appraiser's Office by phone or in writing within 30 days from the date of notice for real property and May 15th for personal property, or you may fill out a "payment under protest" form with the County Treasurer at the time you pay your taxes. If you paid all your taxes prior to December 20th then the protest can be made no later than December 20th (unless an escrow or tax service agent pays your property taxes, then no later than January 31st).

You cannot appeal using both methods for the same property in the same tax year. So, if you start to appeal, be sure that you follow through with the appeal. You will not be allowed to "pay under protest" later.

If you are not satisfied with the results of your appeal at the county level, you may take your case to the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals. For more information on appeals, please see the Appeals section of our web page or contact the appraiser's office

12.  How do I calculate the property taxes on my property?
(1) Looking at your notice of value, find the assessed value.
(2) 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 from the County Treasurer or contact the County Clerk.


13.  What is the mill levy and how is it set?
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.


14.  Who pays the taxes due on property I sold or purchased?
Except for certain motor vehicles, property tax due on personal property is the responsibility of the owner of record January 1 of each year. For real property, if not addressed in a private contract, the seller is responsible for the property tax if the property is sold on or after January 1 and before September 1. The buyer is responsible for the property tax if purchased on or after September 1 and prior to January 1 (K.S.A. 79-1805). Private contracts between buyer and seller will often specify who pays the taxes.


15.  Are property taxes prorated between buyer and seller?
Property is not prorated on the tax roll when acquired and is not prorated off the tax roll when disposed of (K.S.A. 79-309). However, private contracts between buyers and sellers will often prorate the property tax. The only exceptions to this are for motor vehicles and when taxable property becomes exempt or exempt property becomes taxable.


16.  What is real property?
According to Kansas statute, real property is land and all buildings, improvements including mines, minerals, quarries, mineral springs and wells, rights and privileges appertaining thereto, except as otherwise specifically provided.


17.  What real property is taxable?
By law, all property in this state, real and personal, not expressly exempt therefrom, is subject to taxation.


18.  How is real property classified and assessed in Kansas?
Article11, Section 1 of The Kansas Constitution provides that: Real property shall be classified into seven subclasses and assessed uniformly by subclass at the following assessment percentages:  

(1) Real property used for residential purposes including multifamily residential real property and real property necessary to accommodate a residential community of mobile or manufactured homes including the real property upon which such homes are located ------ 11.5%.

(2) Land devoted to agricultural use which shall be valued upon the basis of its agricultural income or agricultural productivity pursuant to section 12 of article 11 of the constitution ----- 30%.

(3) Vacant lots ----- 12%.  

(4) Real property which is owned and operated by a not-for-profit organization not subject to federal income taxation pursuant to section 501 of the federal internal revenue code, and which is included in this subclass by law ----- 12%.  

(5) Public utility real property, except railroad real property which shall be assessed at the average rate that all other commercial and industrial property is assessed ----- 33%. 

(6) Real property used for commercial and industrial purposes and buildings and other improvements located upon land devoted to agricultural use ----- 25%.

(7) All other urban and rural real property not otherwise specifically subclassified ----- 30%.

Notes:
Procedures used to determine appraised values for land devoted to agricultural use are beyond the scope of this publication.  

Public utility and railroad property is state-assessed and beyond the scope of this publication. Information in this publication does not apply to state assessed property.  

19.  What is personal property?
According to statute, personal property is every tangible thing which is the subject of ownership, not forming part or parcel of real property.  

20.  What personal property is taxable?
By law, all personal property in this state, not expressly exempt therefrom, is subject to taxation.

21.  How is personal property classified and assessed in Kansas?
Article 11, Section 1 of The Kansas Constitution provides that: Tangible personal property shall be classified into six subclasses and assessed uniformly by subclass at the following assessment percentages: 

(1) Mobile homes used as a residence ----- 11.5% *  

(2) Mineral leasehold interests except oil leasehold interests the average daily production from which is five barrels or less, and natural gas leasehold interests the average daily production from which is 100 mcf or less, which shall be assessed at 25% ----- 30%.  

(3) Public utility tangible personal property including inventories thereof, except railroad personal property, including inventories thereof, which shall be assessed at the average rate all other commercial and industrial property is assessed ----- 33%. 

(4) All categories of motor vehicles not defined and specifically valued and taxed pursuant to law enacted prior to 1985 ----- 30%.  

(5) Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment which, if its economic life is seven years or more, shall be valued at its retail cost when new less seven-year straight-line depreciation, or which, if its economic life is less than seven years, shall be valued at its retail cost when new less straight-line depreciation over its economic life, except that, the value so obtained for such property, notwithstanding its economic life and, as long as such property is being used, shall not be less than 20% of the retail cost when new of such property ----- 25%. 

(6) All other tangible personal property not otherwise specifically classified ----- 30%.  

* The same as mobile homes considered real property. 


22.  Who needs to list personal property for taxation?
K.S.A. 79-303 states, "Every person, association, company or corporation who owns or holds, subject to his or her control, any taxable personal property is required by law to list the property for assessment."   Kansas is a self-reporting state and it is the duty of the property owner to list their property for valuation purposes.  Most counties mail a “courtesy” personal property assessment form to the property owners, but it is not mandatory. 

If any person, association, company or corporation has in their possession or custody any taxable personal property belonging to others, it shall be their duty to list the property with the appraiser in the name of the owner of the property. 

Boats are a prime example of this. State law requires that each year the boat marinas must provide a list of boats and their owners to the appraiser's office. The appraiser then mails a rendition to the owner so they can report their personal property. 

23.  Who must sign the personal property rendition?
By law, every person, association, company or corporation required to list property must personally sign the rendition. In addition, if a tax rendition form preparer prepared the rendition, then the tax preparer must also sign and certify that the information presented therein is true and correct (K.S.A. 79-306).

 

 

24.  When and where does a taxpayer file a rendition?
K.S.A. 79-306 requires all taxable personal property to be listed, by a taxpayer, on a rendition (also referred to as a 'statement') and filed with the County Appraiser on or before March 15th of each year, or the next following business day, if such date falls on a day other than a regular business day. Oil and gas renditions are to be filed on or before April 1st. 

The County Appraiser may extend the March 15th deadline if the taxpayer submits a request in writing, stating just and adequate reasons for the extension, and is received by the County Appraiser on or before the March 15th due date, April 1st for oil and gas rendition.  

25.  What penalties apply to personal property?
If personal property is not listed or if a rendition is untimely filed, the County Appraiser is required by law to apply any applicable penalties. These penalties are set forth in K.S.A. 79-1422 and K.S.A. 79-1427(a) as follows:


Penalties

 

date rendition filed: penalty:
 
March 16- April 15 +5%
April 16- May 15 +10%
May 16- June 15 +15%
June 16- July 15 +20%
July 16th or later until March 15th of the following year +25%
Failure to file full and complete statement within one year +50%
Failure to file, omitt or under-report for more than one year +50%

 


The County Appraiser has the duty of listing and appraising all tangible personal property in the county that is owned by, held, or in the possession of a business.

If a taxpayer fails or refuses to file a rendition or, if the rendition filed does not truly represent all the property, the County Appraiser has the duty to investigate, identify, list and value such property in an effort to achieve uniformity and equality (K.S.A. 79-1411(b) and K.S.A. 79-1461).  

25.  do I have any appeal for the penalty?
The State Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) has the authority to abate any penalty imposed under this section and order the refund of the abated penalty. In order to appeal a penalty the taxpayer should obtain the proper form from the County Appraiser's Office, complete the form, and submit it to the county. The county would then submit the form to the Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) for consideration. The Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) will make a decision as to whether the penalty will be abated.  Either party may request that Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) rehear or reconsider its decision if such request is made within 15 days from the date of the COTA decision.  

26.  How are motor vehicles appraised?

(1) Motorcycles, automobiles and light trucks that are tagged to operate at less than 12,000 pounds or less on public roads are appraised for tax purposes using a formula set forth in laws. The motor vehicles approximate base wholesale price (dealer cost) when first sold to the public is used to "classify" the vehicle within a price range. The mid-point of this price range is then reduced 15% per calendar year (K.S.A. 79-5100 series).  

(2) Motor vehicles operating over 12,000 pounds, or non-highway motor vehicles, are appraised at market value. The market value is generally obtained using valuation publications prescribed by the state.  

(3) Automobiles owned and leased for a period of time not exceeding 28 days by a car rental company have an excise rental tax imposed in lieu of property tax (K.S.A. 79-5117).  

(4) Motor vehicles used by, for hire motor carriers over the road to transport persons or property are state-assessed. Contact the Motor Carrier Section of the Kansas Division of Property Valuation for more information regarding property taxes on state assessed motor vehicles at (785) 296-2365.  

27.  How are recreational vehicles (RV's) taxed?
To fall under the tax definition of an "RV" the vehicle must be, among other things, for use on chassis and designed as living quarters for recreational, camping, vacation or travel use; have a body width not exceeding 8.5 feet and a body length not exceeding 45 feet; an electrical system which operates above 12 volts and provisions for plumbing and heating. Please contact the County Appraiser's Office for proper classification.  

The weight of the "RV" must be what is generally accepted as its correct shipping weight. If the "RV" is a 1982 model year or newer and the County Appraiser or Treasurer cannot determine the shipping weight using the information authorized by the state and the law, then the vehicle owner must have the vehicle weighed at a certified scale. The County Treasurer has a listing of certified scales in the county.