About the Office of Tax Assessor
Requirements of the Office
The County Assessor must, by personal inspection and examination, gather and record any and all available data and information bearing upon the location, number, amount, kind, and value of any and all property and persons which he is required by law to assess. The Assessor must keep a list of all persons subject to assessment in his county. He must note all removals from the county or from one precinct to another within the county and add the names of all persons subject to assessment moving into his county.
This information is filed and systematically indexed and remains a permanent part of the record of the assessor's office so that the records can be used by the Board of Supervisors and other officials of the county and state performing duties dealing with the assessment of property and the collection of taxes.
These records may be generated, filed, stored, retained, copied, or reproduced microfilm, data processing, computers, or any other electronic process which correctly and legibly stores and reproduces or which forms a medium for storing, copying or reproducing documents, files and records in addition to, or in lieu of, the paper documents, files and records.
Another duty of the assessor is to inquire into the purchase price paid for any property, real or personal, and to ascertain and acquaint himself with any sales or transfers of property of similar description or value made or effected in the vicinity, within the year or years next preceding the listing for assessment then being made. The price paid for property should be considered by the assessor in determining the value of property listed for assessment.
The Assessor is required to submit a budget of his office's estimated expenses for the next fiscal year at the July meeting of the Board of Supervisors. This budget should include amounts for the compensation of deputies and other employees of the Assessor office, travel and transportation expenses, theft insurance premiums, equipment and office supplies, and for other expenses that may be incurred in the performance of the duties of the office of assessor and tax collector.
In addition, the budget should include amounts for the payment of premiums on the bonds and insurance for the assessors and deputies that are considered by the Board of Supervisors necessary to protect the interests of the county.
At the first meeting of every quarter, the Board of Supervisors appropriates a lump sum to the Assessor for the expenses of his office during the current quarter. This appropriation should be one-fourth of the amount approved in the annual budget unless the Assessor requests a different amount. Except in the case of emergency, the appropriation for the quarter beginning October 1st of the last year of the Assessor office.
In addition to these duties, the County Tax Assessor is also responsible for the enumeration of certain people. Specifically, the assessor of each county is to make an annual enumeration of all the ex-confederate soldiers and widows of deceased confederate soldiers residing in his county, on forms furnished by the state auditor. The enumeration should be made within the time authorized by law for making the assessment of property.
The County Tax Assessor has the right, power, and authority to require an inspection of a property owner's books and accounts, papers, memorandum, and records, and from this inspection make an estimate of the value of property. The Assessor may also question the owner, agent, or employees of the owner about the actual cash value of any property subject to assessment. The Assessor has the right and power to inquire into and ascertain the insured value of any and all property, or into the value at which the property has been insured previously.
This includes the amount of fire insurance carried on all stocks of merchandise or goods kept for use or sale, machinery, fixtures, and other property. If the Assessor believes or has reason to believe that the list of taxable property furnished by any person is incomplete or incorrect, or if any property has been undervalued, they shall assess the same and add it to the assessment roll at its true value.
Election to Office
Before entering office, the tax assessor is required to take the oath of office and give bond payable in a penalty equal to 5% of the sum of all state and county taxes shown by the assessment rolls for the year immediately preceding the commencement of the term of office. However, the bond shall not exceed $100,000.
Salary of Assessors is based upon the total assessed valuation of the county for the preceding taxable year.