What are the Assessor’s statutory responsibilities?
The Salt Lake County Assessor’s Office estimates the market value for over 373,000 parcels or Real Property accounts, as well as, nearly 33,000 Personal Property accounts. This process provides the foundation for funding local government services such as public schools, police, fire protection, libraries, as well as other services. Real Property is defined as the interests, benefits, and rights that are inherent in the ownership of real estate. Real estate is the parcel or tract of land including any improvements. The Utah State Tax Commission defines Personal Property as material items such as watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicles, furniture and fixtures, machinery, and equipment, tools, patterns, and stock in trade, as well as, outside advertising structures and manufactured homes.
What is the responsibility of the Assessor?
The primary responsibility of the Assessor is to establish market value on all locally assessed property within Salt Lake County. Locally assessed property includes residential, commercial, vacant land, and Commercial Personal Property. Other property or centrally assessed property, which is assessed by the Utah State Tax Commission includes utilities, railroads, telecommunications, airlines, and mining property. Locally assessed property constitutes approximately 90% of the tax base in Salt Lake County.
The Assessor does not set the tax rates.
It is important to understand that the Assessor’s Office DOES NOT set tax rates. The various taxing entities within each tax area set the tax rate based on their annual budget. The sum of all of these rates equals the overall tax rate or mill levy.
A common misperception is that the Assessor can increase valuations through the reappraisal process in order to create a “windfall” of revenue. Truth in Taxation laws prevent this from happening. In general, if assessments increase in value due to reappraisal, the overall tax rate in your tax area is adjusted downward in order to produce the same amount of revenue as the previous year plus New Growth. New Growth is defined as new residences, businesses, or new improvements that are added during a given tax year.
How do taxing entities generate additional tax revenue?
Taxing entities can generate additional revenue through a process called Truth in Taxation. When a taxing entity, such as a city, county, or school district proposes a budget increase, they are required to hold a public hearing to explain why the additional revenue is required and they must allow taxpayers to have the opportunity to comment on the increase. Truth in Taxation law prevents taxing entities from increasing revenue through the reappraisal process and it requires that the taxing entities notify the public when they are requesting revenue