FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of property taxes?
-Property taxes are a primary source of funding for local government units, including counties, cities and towns, townships, libraries and other special districts including fire districts and solid waste districts. Property taxes are administered and collected by local government officials. These funds are used to pay for a variety of services including Schools; police and fire; new construction and maintenance of buildings; local infrastructure like highways, roads and streets; and the operations, including salaries, of the local units of government.
Property taxes are an ad valorem tax, meaning that they are allocated to each taxpayer proportionately according to the value of the taxpayer's property.
How will I know if my assessed value is correct?
-The assessed value should reflect the amount a willing buyer would pay for the property at the time of the assessment. When a property owner receives notice of new assessment, the best way to determine if it is accurate is to ask if the property could have sold for approximately that amount during the valuation time period. A correct assessed value should reflect the amount a willing buyer would pay for the property for the year in which the Notice of Assessment is issued. The Assessment value for the current tax year is based on the value as of January 1 of the previous year. You may obtain a copy of the Property Record card for your property by visiting the GIS website (scroll to bottom of page for GIS link) or by visiting the Assessor’s Office. Please review the information provided on the Property Record Card (PRC). The form not only shows the assessed value, but also the information used to arrive at the assessed value. You are encouraged to carefully check the following for accuracy: Year of construction, Number of stories, Exterior construction (brick, frame, block, etc.),Square footage (calculated from outside measurements),Number of extra plumbing fixtures (refers to the number of fixtures in excess of one full bath – 3 fixtures, kitchen sink and hot water heater per living unit),Other assessable features (including but not limited to: extra living units, basement recreation rooms, hot tubs, central air conditioning, fireplaces, finished attics and basements, open and enclosed porches, etc.)
Any objective errors (statistical or processing errors) can be corrected by contacting the Assessor’s office, anytime during the tax year. Objective errors can be corrected by filing for up to 3 prior years. Subjective errors (opinion-based errors) can only be corrected through the appeal process.
What if I disagree with the Assessed Value?
-Indiana Law provides every property owner with a right to appeal their assessed value. A taxpayer should be aware that when deciding to file an appeal, an appeal has 3 possible outcomes: the assessed value may go down, the assessed value may go up or the assessed value may remain the same. Please see the Appeals Process page for more information.
What do I need to do if I am making changes or improvements to my property?
-If a building permit was issued, the Assessor's office will be notified by the planning department. If, however, improvements or modifications are made to property that cost more than $500 and a permit was not required, you will need to notify the assessor’s office. If something has been demolished, you need to file a Destroyed or Removed property (Form 135) in the Assessor’s office. State form 135 can be found at this link or at the link on the forms page: State of Indiana; Form 135 Affidavit of Destroyed or Removed Property
Why did my assessment increase this year?
-The reassessment process for all counties in Indiana is required and monitored by the State. This process is a 4-year repeating cycle in which the Assessor's Office inspects 1/4 of the county’s properties each year. Part of the re-assessment process is conducting physical on-site inspections of each property in the county, reviewing permits, and available supplemental data such as sales listings and sales disclosures. You may see our field assessor driving around in a marked vehicle conducting the year's reassessment and ensuring that we have all our information correct. The state Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) updates the required cost tables for materials used in construction, these are based on the current pricing of construction building materials and labor.
In addition to designing the reassessment format, the State of Indiana also mandates that each county completes an annual study comparing the county's assessed value of parcels to the prices that they have sold for. It is a requirement for our office to have parcels assessed at a value, on average, within 10% of the sale price. To do this we begin by looking at all sales that occur between the first and last day of the calendar year Properties are then compared to others in their respective township and are divided into "neighborhoods" based on geography, having similar characteristics, size, year built, condition, and type of construction. Based on calculations involving the sales comparisons, we then raise or lower the assessments on all properties in that “neighborhood”. Changes are only made to groups if there are enough sales to accurately represent the market. The sales prices of homes and materials have risen in the past few years, and as a result so have assessed values of properties in Brown County.
The State classifies land in three main groupings: residential, commercial/industrial, or agricultural. To be considered Agricultural land the land must be used for agricultural purposes, (i.e.. crops, livestock, timber). The land rate for Agriculture is set every year by the State and can fluctuate. Please contact our office for more information on the requirements for classifying land for Agricultural uses.
Do I need to file a Business personal property return?
-Business tangible personal property is the value of all property besides real estate that is used in your business or organization. It includes equipment used in the production of income or held as an investment; billboards; furniture, foundations for the equipment; and all other tangible property other than real property. Computer application software is considered an intangible asset and is not assessable. Inventory is no longer taxed. If the cost of all your business personal property is less than $80,000, your business or organization is entitled to a business personal property exemption. You can attain this exemption by completing all the required forms; you will mark the checkbox at the top of Form 103-Long, Form 103-Short, or Form 102 indicating the cost of your assets is less than $80,000. All Business personal property returns are required to be filed by May 15 each year. Please visit our Assessment Forms page to access the required forms. If you need assistance our office is available throughout the season to help explain the forms.
- Licensed motor vehicles, trailers, motorized boats, most airplanes, campers, recreational vehicles, and other registered vehicles that are subject to excise tax collected at the time of licensure by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles are not subject to personal property tax.
Property tax deductions
-Deductions work by reducing the amount of assessed value a taxpayer pays on a given parcel of property. Application for deductions must be completed and dated not later than December 31 annually. How do I file a homestead, over 65 or Veteran’s deduction? For complete information on filing for the Homestead, over 65 and Veteran’s deductions, Please contact the Brown County Auditor’s office 812-988-5485