Purpose of Appraisals: The purpose of the appraisal is to estimate the fair market value of the real estate for administering ad valorem tax burden fairly and equitably. The effective date of appraisal by statue is October 1st of each calendar year. Definition of Market Value: "Market Value" is defined as the most probable price, expressed in terms of money, that a property would bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by an undue stimulus. Analysis of Market Values: Once market values have been calculated based on information gathered by the property appraiser, the values are analyzed to determine how accurate and equitable they are. The property appraiser does not create market value. The buying and selling of property by the general public establishes the value of property in the real estate marketplace.
A comparison of assessments to sale prices is performed to determine ratios, which are then used to measure the levels and uniformity of assessments. Sales ratios studies by neighborhood, type of property, and other characteristics are performed on a regular basis to assure uniformity in values.
Sales File: The county has an inventory of sales that have occured and the latest are stored in a CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) database. The data is collected on an ongoing basis. Notice of Valuation: The Tax Assessor is required by law to notify the property owner every four years of their property value. If your property value changes in the interim years you will also receive notification. Notification will be mailed to the owner of record. Remember: Real property taxes are billed October 1st of each calendar year. Taxes can be paid between October 1st and December 31st of each calendar without penalty. Taxes become delinquent after December 31st. Any unpaid taxes are assessed fees and interest per month beginning in January of each calendar year. All unpaid property is sold at auction in May to the highest bidder. The property is sold with a three year "right of Redemption". Personal property has no right of redemption.
Title 40, Code of Alabama, 1975 Chapter 7, requires all business personal property to be reported to the local taxing official in each county annually.
Business personal property is all furniture, fixtures, and equipment used in the operation of all businesses, corporations, and partnerships.
Each year a "Business Personal Property Return" is mailed to all businesses in the County. this return must be filed with the Escambia County Appraisal Department between October 1 and December 31 of each calendar year. The Tax Assessor has the authority to allow reporting through the 3rd Monday in January. After the 3rd Monday in January the return is delinquent and a 10% penalty will be added to the assessed value of your business personal account. There are no provisions for extensions.
Each year in September a Business Personal Property Return is mailed to the business owner, you have until December 31st to complete and return it.
Current Use Exemption
Application for "current use" valuation of Class III property must be filed by the property owner with the County Tax Assessor between October 1 and January 1 in any taxable year. The application form will include a description of the property as well as the "use" (row crop, pasture, timber, etc.) of the property.
Application for "current use" is obtained by contacting the Escambia County Appraisal Department.
the State Department of Revenue, Ad Valorem Division, will determine the "current use" values each year for soil group. These values are applicable to the entire State of Alabama.
Conversion (a.k.a. Recapture):
If any property for which a "current use" valuation has been approved is converted to any use other than that for which the application was filed, the Tax Assessor shall revalue the property according to current market value as provided by Code of Alabama 1975, Section 40-7-25.3. The Tax Assessor shall then base his appraisal on the then current market value assessing such property accordingly for purpose of collecting any additional taxes due thereon. After conversion, taxes will be due based on the sales price or the fair and reasonable market value of such property at the time of its conversion, whichever is greater, for the preceding three (3) ad valorem tax years.
Manufactured Mobile Homes
Ad Valorem Taxation: All manufactured mobile homes which are owner-occupied and located on the owners land are taxed with the real estate. Each year, after your property taxes have been paid, the Tax collector's office will mail the property owner a decal which is required by law to be displayed on the manufactured mobile home. Tax bills go out October 1st of each year and you have until December 31st to pay without assessment of fees and penalties.
Registration: Manufactured mobile homes that are not owner-occupied are required to be registered. Registration of mobile homes can be done by mail or in person at the Tax Collector's Office. Renewals are mailed each year on October 1st and you have until November 30th to pay your annual registration fee without assessment of fees and penalties. Once your registration fee is paid the Tax Collector will mail you a decal which must be displayed on your mobile home.
Each calendar year, sometime in June, July, or August, the Escambia County Appraisal Department will send a "Valuation Notice" to the property owner of record. By law, the property owner is to be notified every four (4) years regardless of any changes to his property's value. In the interim years, a "Valuation Notice" will only be mailed to those properties who experienced some type of change from the prior tax year.
Once you have received your "Valuation Notice" you have ten days from the date of mailing to contact the Escambia County Appraisal Department at the telephone number provided on your "Valuation Notice". When you telephone the Appraisal Department, you will be talking with a knowledge appraiser regarding your property. If the appraiser cannot satisfy your question via the telephone, and "informal appeal" hearing will be scheduled for a face-to-face meeting with a qualified appraiser.
If you are still unsatisfied with the results of your appeal you may apply to be heard by the Board of Equalization. The Board of Equalization will schedule you a hearing date to come and present your argument. If no satisfaction is gained at this level you have the legal right to appeal to the Circuit Court within 30 days after final notification from the Board of Equalization. (Title 40 Chapter 7, Code Of Alabama, 1975)