County Tax Office
306 West Market Street, Greenwood,
P.O. Box 1957, Greenwood, MS 38935
The following is designed to give the Leflore County taxpayer a brief overview of the duties, responsibilities and functions of your assessor's office and some information, which might be of interest to the property owner.
Should you ever need or want additional information concerning your property taxes or the laws governing them, please contact your assessor's office. We are here to serve you.
What Does an Assessor Do?
What the Assessor Does Not Do?
How Is Your Assessment Determined?
What Is Fair Market Value?
How Are Taxes Calculated?
How Can My Taxes Increase?
What If I Disagree With The Assessor's Value Of My Property?
The assessor is required by the Mississippi Constitution to list and value all property subject to ad valorem taxation on an assessment roll each year. The "ad valorem" basis for taxation means that all property should be taxed "according to value" which is the definition of ad valorem. The assessed vlaue is the percentage of "fair market value" or "use value" as prescribed by law. Property is assessed as follows:
LAND - 15% of its "fair market value" or "use value"
RESIDENTIAL OWNER OCCUPIED - 10% of "fair market value"
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY - (including personal property) - 15% of "fair market value"
The County Tax Assessor's office must appraise and assess approximately 20,000 parcels of property. All public service properties are assessed by the Mississippi Tax Commission.
The Assessor does not raise or lower taxes. The assessor does not make the laws, which affect property owners. The Constitution of the State of Mississippi as adopted by the voters, provides the basic framework for taxation, and tax laws are made by the State Legislature. The rules and regulations for assessments are set by the State Tax Commission. The tax dollars are levied by the taxing bodies, such as the police jury, school board, etc.
The assessor's office has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes collected. The assessor's primary responsibility is to find the "fair market value" of your property so that you must pay your fair share of the taxes. The amount of the taxes you pay is determined by the "tax rate" applied to your property's assessed value. The tax rate is determined by all the taxing agencies within a district, city or county and those rates fixed by the Constitution. They include school district, police juries, law enforcement districts, etc. The tax rate is the basis for the budget needed or demanded by the voters to provide for services such as school, roads, law enforcement, etc. Tax rates are simply those rates which will provide funds to pay for those services.
To arrive at "fair market value" for your property, the assessor must know what "willing sellers" and willing buyers" are doing in the market place. He must also keep current on cost of construction in the area and any changes in zoning, financing, and economic conditions, which may affect property values. The assessor uses the three national recognized appraisal approaches to value, those being cost, income, and market. This data is then correlated into a final value estimated by the appraiser. After your appraisal has been made, the appropriate percentage of value required by law is calculated as your "assessed value."
Fair market value is defined by Mississippi Appraisal Institute as follows:
"Fair Market Value is the price for property which would be agreed upon between a willing and informed buyer and a willing and informed seller under usual and ordinary circumstances; it shall be the highest price estimated in terms of money which property will bring, if exposed for sale, on the open market with reasonable time allowed to find a purchaser who is buying with knowledge of all the uses and purposes to which the property is best adapted and for which it can be leagally used"
Finding the "fair market value" of your property involves discovering the price most people would pay for it in its present condition. It is not quite that simple, however, because the assessor has to find what this value would be for every property every year. The assessor's job doesn't stop here. He must immediately begin gathering sales and other data for future years as the market is constantly changing.
Tax rates are based on millages, bond issues, and fees that have been voted by registered voters in the various districts which have been established by the Legislature or Constitution. The tax monies collected for the districts go to pay for schools, roads, law enforcement, fire protection, and other services that tax payers demand and desire for local government. To calculate the taxes on your property, you must take the assessed value, which is a percentage of "fair market value", and multiply it by the appropriate tax millage rate to arrive at the amount due. If, as an example, you have $1000 of taxable assessed value and the appropriate rate is 70 mills, you would pay $1000 x .070 = $70 in taxes. If your home is valued at $100,000 and assessed at 10 percent, or $10,000 and you are eligible and have filed for homestead exemption, you would calculate your taxes as follows:
(County Mill Rate)
(Maximum Homestead Credit)
(Total County Taxes Due)
NOTE: The example is for county taxes only with homestead exemption.
When additional taxes are voted by the people, an individual's property tax bill will increase. Also, when market values increase, naturally, so does the assessed value. If you were to make improvements to your existing property for instance, add a garage, an additional room, or a swimming pool, the "fair market value" and, therefore, the assessed value would also increase. The assessor has not created the value. People make value by their transaction in the marketplace. The assessor simply has the legal and moral responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.
As a taxpayer, you have certain legal responsibilites to furnish correct information on your property to the assessor's office. If you have complied with these legal requirements, you are entitled to question values placed on your property. If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessor's, by all means go to the office and discuss the matter. Be prepared to show evidence that their valuation is too high. The staff will be glad to answer your questions about the assessor's appraisal, explaining how it was done. The assessor's office must rely on the property owner for information, and you can help by providing accurate data. If, after discussing the matter with the assessor, a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal your assessment to the County Board of Supervisors. If the Board, after hearing your petition, agrees with the assessor, you may appeal this decision to the Mississippi Sate Tax Commission. If the Commission agrees with Board and the assessor, you can then plead your case before the courts should you choose to do so.