Morton County, Kansas 1025 Morton St., Elkhart, KS 67950-1116 Phone 1-800-697-4807

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Understanding Real Property Appraisal

Understanding The Appeals Process

Understanding Appeal Hearings?

Understanding Real Property Appraisal


Why is the appraisal necessary?

Kansas law establishes the method of appraisal used to determine a property owner's share of taxes needed to support schools, roads and bridges, noxious weed eradication, our hospital, fair, soil conservation, airport, elections, extension work, mental health, library, fire department, sheriff's department, health office, council on aging, ambulance, and historical society to name just a few.  The county appraiser's office is responsible for listing and valuing property in a uniform and equal manner to help share the cost of these services.  But the amount of taxes you pay depends on the budgets set by your governing bodies, such as those set by the state cities, county entities, and schools.

How is an appraisal done?

The county appraiser's staff is required to visit your real estate property at least once every four (4) years.  First, they will try to visit with the owner to review the current information.  Then an exterior inspection is done where they will look for changes, such as, adding on a room, a garage or a deck.  They will verify the dimensions, checking for structural damage, and the property's current condition.

Back in the office, the appraiser's office uses computer-generated data to analyze the property based upon its age, size, and style of construction and replacement costs.  Sale prices of similar properties are also analyzed.

What determines the value used for tax purposes?

State law says your property will be appraised at "fair market value" as it exists on January 1st of each year.  Market value is the amount of money a well-informed buyer would pay a well-informed seller in an open and competitive market.

Why does the value change?

The value of your property can change each year depending on several things. If you made any improvements, such as adding a room or garage, the value will probably go up.

If a major structural problem develops, such as foundation crack that is visible from the outside or pointed out at the time of the appraiser's visit, the value may go down.

A downtrend in sales of similar properties can also effect your value.  If sales are rising, property values will also rise.  The appraiser's office monitors sales within the county continually throughout the year.

When are owners notified?

The first of March each year, the appraiser's office mails valuation notices to the owners of all real property (real estate).  This valuation notice lists current and previous year's values.

How can I determine if the appraisal is accurate?

Begin by checking the "classification" on your valuation notice to make sure the use of your property is correct (ex: RU or FR for residential, CU or CR for commercial, AR for agriculture ect.)  Next compare the current and previous year's values. Does the appraised value appear to be close to the price you would consider reasonable if you were to sell your property?  If so, the appraiser has done the job the state requires.

You should also consider whether you have made any changes to the property.  Have there been any improvements that could increase the value of your property if you were to sell it?  Are there any major structural problems that might not be easily seen from the exterior?  Remember, however, general maintenance usually does not effect value.

How is farmland valued?

According to Kansas State Law, farmland is valued according to it's current use.  Yearly, the Property Valuation Department in Topeka issues values for each soil mapping unit in the county and these values are applied to your land by the county appraiser. The county appraiser does the yearly review to see if you have made any changes in your farming practices (ex: Flood has one to sprinkled or dry land to irrigated, etc...).  The operator or owner of the land is requested to fill out an agriculture use form whenever there is a change.

What if I believe the appraised value is too high?

All property owners have the right to appeal the valuation of their property.  By law, however, you must notify the appraiser's office within 30 days of the mailing of the valuation notice.

You may also contact the appraiser's office for a list of properties similar to yours along with the data about your own property for comparison.  If you are considering an appeal, you can review the sales book of properties in the same class as your own by visiting the appraiser's office.

Understanding The Appeals Process


To appeal or not to appeal?

All property owners have the right to appeal the appraised value of their (real estate) property, but, by law, they must notify the appraiser's office within 30 days of the mailing of their valuation notice.

If you believe your property is valued fairly, but taxes are to high, an appeal probably won't help you.  Instead you should attend the public hearings held by the local governmental groups about their budgets that set tax rates.  Each group invites public comment.

If you think the appraised value is more than you could reasonably get if you sold your home, you should consider an appeal.  Remember, Kansas law requires the appraiser to determine "fair market value" when appraising your property.  If you are uncertain of your property value, you can review real estate advertisements for property similar to yours and real estate professionals can provide you with information about the current market.

If you believe the appraiser's office has incorrect or incomplete information about your property, you may want to appeal.

How do I confirm information about my property?

By calling the appraiser's office, you can request a list of the data of your own property and a list of comparable sales used to value your property.  Remember, however, that state law only allows the appraiser's office to release sales information about property to those who are considering an appeal.

Is there other help?

The appraiser's office will be glad to help you review and verify your property data.

If you are considering an appeal, ask to see the sales book that can help you compare your appraised value with other properties that have sold.  But, as you compare the properties, remember to check for those similar in size, age and style to your property.

How do I file an appeal?

The Morton County Appraiser's Office tries to make the process as simple as possible.  The appeal form and instructions are included with the Annual Valuation Notice or you can call the appraiser's office and request a hearing.  You can even indicate if you require an evening or early morning appointment or a telephone hearing.

By law, you must appeal within 30 days of the date your valuation notice was mailed.

What happens after I ask for an appeal?

You are notified (by mail) of a date and time of the informal hearing which is held at the Morton County Courthouse.

How do I prepare for an appeal?

The informal hearing held in the appraiser's office takes about 20 minutes.  You can designate someone to represent you if you wish by filing a declaration.  However, owners usually represent themselves at this level.

It is important to prepare specific reasons and documentation showing why you feel your property is not appraised at fair market value.

For Example, Bring:

The hearing is very informal so don't be nervous or confrontational.  Just consider the hearing an opportunity to make sure the appraiser's office has the correct information and understands your concerns.  We promise to do our job in a friendly, efficient, and polite way.

What else should I know?

If you fail to meet the 30-day deadline for filing an appeal, state law gives you another option.  You may file your taxes under protest by requesting a protest application when paying the first half of your taxes.  For information, please contact either the office of the treasurer or the appraiser.  State law states that you can only have one appeal annually. However, if you have an informal appeal, you cannot file your taxes under protest in the same year.

If you appealed and are still dissatisfied with the results of the informal hearing, you may appeal to the next level, the State Board of Tax Appeals.  For more information see "Understanding Appeal Hearing."

Understanding Appeal Hearing


Evidence that can help in an appeal:

*The Morton County Appraiser's Office can provide you with additional data on your home and a list of comparable sales.  Also ask to see the sales book which provides data on recent sales.  But, remember, Kansas law only allows sales data to be released to those who are considering an appeal.

Level I: Informational Hearing:

The informal hearing is the first of two possible levels of appeal. By law, all owners have the right to appeal the appraised valuation of their property.  Remember, you must file for an appeal within 30 days of the mailing of your valuation notice.

Level II: State Board of Tax Appeals:

When you receive the Informal Hearing decision, you will also receive instructions on how to file an appeal at the next level, the State Board of Tax Appeals.  You have 30 days to file.  Again you will be notified in advance of the date of your hearing.

The Appeals Process

Note:  Property owners may appeal the value on their property only once during the tax year.

Personal Property

The Morton County Appraiser mails a valuation notice on May 1st to all personal property owners in the county notifying them of the appraised value of their personal property as of January 1st.

Real Estate

The Morton County Appraiser mails a valuation notice to all property owners on or before March 1st.

The valuation notice identifies the property, the classification of the property, the appraised value and the assessed value for the current and the previous year and instructions on how to appeal the appraisal.

Appealing Your Personal Property Appraisal

If you feel the classification or appraised value of your personal property is inaccurate, you may appeal on or before May 15th.  There can be two (2) successive levels of appeals if an agreement is not reached at a previous level.  Each appeal level must be completed before proceeding to the next level.

1. Informal Appeal: The first step in the appeal process is to file with the county appraiser's office.  You will be notified of a time and date for the informal meeting with the appraiser.  If you are not satisfied with the results of this meeting, you may appeal to the State Board of Tax Appeals.

It is not required that property owners be represented by an agent or attorney, owners may represent themselves.  Any property owner who intends to be represented by an agent (any person other than the owner of the property, their family members or their attorney) should notify the appraiser's office prior to the date of the hearing so notification will be sent to the proper person.

2. State Board of Tax Appeals: The instructions and forms are available from the appraiser's office.  This hearing is similar to a courtroom setting where the property owner and the appraiser present their case to members of the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) will issue an order to the property owner and county appraiser of their decision.  If either party is aggrieved by the BOTA order they may pursue their case at District Court.

What Is Personal Property?

"The salient characteristic of personal property is its movability without damage, either to itself or to the real estate to which it is attached." Personal property becomes real property only if it is affixed in such a way that it loses it's original physical character and cannot practically be restored to it's original condition.

Personal property may be leased, loaned, rented, consigned, or owned. The basic categories of personal property are generally: furniture, fixtures, plant equipment, office equipment, machinery, boats, motors, and trailers, aircraft, mobile homes and recreational vehicles.

Oil and gas wells are also considered personal property and a rendition must be turned in by the operator each year.

Examples Of Commercial And Individual Personal Property Are Listed Below:

Owned or leased by a business:

If item is $250 or less and can work independently of other equipment, it is exempted by law.

Owned or leased by an individual:

Automobiles and most recreational vehicles are classed and taxed at the time of registration for license plates or renewal decal.

What is market value?

The valuation of commercial personal property begins with the cost of the item.  Items are valued according to their historic purchase price when new or the used purchase price and the appropriate economic life of the item is applied.  The asset is then depreciated over its economic life to a remaining base or salvage value.

After December 31, 1995, any qualifying item of commercial personal property with original cost of $250 or less is exempt.  Please continue to list the items on your rendition as usual and the appraiser's office will determine if the item qualifies for this exemption.

The appropriate economic lives that are assigned to commercial items come from guidelines issued by the State of Kansas, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publications and Marshall & Swift Valuation Services.

Businesses are also required to report any leased equipment they use.  Listing the name and address of the leasing company is very helpful to the county appraiser so the item gets filed under the correct name.

Many personal property items belong to individuals are valued from market data.  *Guidelines are provided by the State of Kansas to help establish market value as well as market data that is collected from our region.  This market data is then used to establish the current value of a particular item along with it's age and condition.  Oil and gas are also valued with the use of a guide published by the State of Kansas.
*Automobiles, light trucks and motorcycles are classed separately by the State of Kansas.

Who is to list property?

K.S.A. 79-303: "Every person, association, company or corporation who shall own or hold, subject to his or her control, any tangible personal property shall list said property for assessment."

K.S.A. 79-301: "All tangible personal property subject to taxation shall be listed and assessed as of the first day of January of each year in the name of the owner thereof."

Remember: It is your responsibility to file this information with the county appraiser's office.  If you own any tangible personal property with the intent to establish and/or operate a business (including a home based business), or if you own any recreational property or vehicles not taxed at the time of registration, or mobile homes not on a permanent foundation, you must file a rendition with the county appraiser's office.  The rendition form is available from the Morton County Appraiser's Office located in the County Courthouse in Elkhart.


You may write to P.O. Box 1430, Elkhart, KS 67950-1430 or call 620-697-2106 to receive a rendition.  Willena Boaldin, Morton County Personal Property Clerk will be glad to assist you.

Penalty Schedule (Except Oil & Gas) As Required by K.S.A. 79-1422 and K.S.A. 79-1427a.

*Oil & Gas penalty schedule is moved back 15 days for each component of the schedule.

Penalty

January 1st - March 1st None
March 16th - April 15th 5%
April 16th - May 15th 10%
May 16th - June 15th 15%
June 16th - July 15th 20%
July 16th - March 14th
(Next Year)
25%
March 15th of Next Year 50%

Royalty Tax Explanation

Factors considered when determining market value of oil and gas leasehold properties include past and present production history, current oil and gas prices, and remaining reserves.  The State of Kansas publishes a guide that is followed to help in the determination of the market value of oil and gas.  The formula is used to "determine today's benefit for future revenues discounted to present value".

The ad valorem tax (local personal property tax) that you are billed for on your royalty tax statement is based upon value; therefore, there are some years in which the taxes may appear high and way out of line when your income is down.  Personal property taxes are always for the prior year so the prior year's production is used in the formula.  A loss in one year's income does not eradicate value.  An example of this would be a farmer who is hailed out one year, but does not see a decrease in the market value of his farm ground.

Gas wells may be shut in during the current year, but still have large reserves and are capable of producing a lot of gas, causing taxes to remain high with income down for the year.  The values placed on these royalty interests are supported by offers from several investors to purchase these properties.

The Taxpayers Role

You, the taxpayer, can play an effective role in the appraisal process if you know your rights, understand the remedies available to you and fulfill your responsibilities as a property owner and taxpayer.

Fulfill Your Responsibilities:

File a property rendition with the appraiser's office on or before March 15th of every year for personal property and on or before April 1st every year for oil and gas.

Verify that the property you own is listed and described correctly on the tax records, along with your correct name and address.

Follow the procedure prescribed by law at each level of the appeal process.

Know Your Rights:

You have the right to equal and uniform appraisal. Your value should be equitable to similar properties.

You have the right to have your property taxed on it's fair market value or cost.

Taxing districts must inform the public of proposed tax rate (mill levy) increases and give taxpayers time to comment on the proposed increases.

Understand Your Remedies:

You have the right to appeal the valuation of your property.

You can speak at the budget hearings your officials conduct before adopting resolutions and/or setting the tax levy. These hearings are open to the public.

Classification Chart

According to the Constitution of Kansas, real property will be taxed by classification for ad valorem tax purposes.  Following is a listing of these classifications and the percentages of market value or use value (for agricultural land):

Class Percentage of Assessment

R Residential (homes, mobile 11.5% of market value, home apartments, condominium)
A Agricultural Land (used 30% of use value for agricultural purposes)
A Agricultural Improvements (25% of market value)
F Residences on Farm (11.5% of market value home sites)
V Vacant Lots (12% of market value)
O Properties Not Listed as 30% of market value (commercial or residential)
C Businesses or industry (25% of market value)
E Property exempt from taxation 0%
U State assessed utilities (33% of state appraised value)

Taxing Year At A Glance

In the Late Winter/Early Spring

Appraisal Process and Notification of Value

Personal property, oil and gas renditions are mailed to property owners already registered with the County Appraiser's Office.  Personal Property renditions must be returned by March 15th or they will receive a penalty.  Anyone owning taxable personal property must file a rendition with the appraiser's office before the March 15th deadline to avoid a penalty.  Oil and gas renditions must be returned by April 1st to avoid a penalty.  All personal property is appraised using published guides and guides issued by the State of Kansas.  Valuation notices are mailed to all owners of personal property by May 1st. (click here for "What Is Personal Property?")

The valuation notice identifies the property, the classification of the property (individual or commercial personal property), the appraised value and the assessed value for the current year.  (Click here for the Classification Chart)

If you feel the classification or appraised value of your personal property is inaccurate, you may appeal on or before May 15th(See Appeals Information and Understanding Appeals by clicking on the desired topic.)

At the same time, real estate property values are being calculated. Valuation notices will be mailed on real estate on or before March 1st.

The valuation notice identifies the real estate, the classification of the property, the appraised value and the assessed value for the current year and the previous year as well as instructions on how to appeal the appraisal.  If you feel the classification or appraised value of your real estate is inaccurate, you may appeal within 30 days of the mailing of your valuation notice.

In The Summer

Assessed Value And The Calculation Of Taxes

The county appraiser certifies the total appraised value of all personal property, oil and gas, and real estate to the county clerk.  Taxing jurisdictions (School districts, cities, county, ect.) hold public hearings to invite participation from citizens concerning their budgets.  Property owners can address their concerns over tax rates and the cost and quality of public service they receive.  Once the budget hearings are complete, each taxing jurisdiction submits it's budget to the County Clerk.  This is where the assessed value comes into play.  The sum of moneys needed each year by cities, school districts, the county, etc... determines what is called the mill levy (tax rate).  This mill levy is applied to each one thousand dollars of your property's assessed value.  The assessed value of your property is, by law, a fixed percentage of the market value determined by the county appraiser.

How To Figure Your Taxes:

  1. Multiply the appraised value by the assessment rate for the classification of your property.

  2. Multiply the assessed value by the mill levy (the tax rate set by groups such as the county,cities, and schools) for your taxing district.
    To determine the actual mill levy for your taxing district, call the appraiser's office at 620-697-2106 or e-mail them at mcappraiser@elkhart.com

Example:

$80,000 (Market value of your home)

x 11.5 (Residential assessment rate of 11.5)

= $9,200 Assessed Value

x .120 Mill Levy
(120 mills or $120 per $1,000 of assessed value)

= $1,140 Taxes Due On Your Home

In The Fall & Winter

Tax Bills

Once the County Clerk completes the calculation of assessed values and mill levies (tax rates), the county treasurer issues tax bills for payment.

Paying Your Taxes Under Protest

If you believe your tax bill was calculated incorrectly or the property value used by the appraiser is not correct, a payment under protest is appropriate.  However, if you feel your taxes are just to high but your value is ok, a payment under protest will not help.  The taxing jurisdictions public hearings held in the summer are the place to voice your concerns.

When you are ready to pay your taxes and wish to pay them under protest, ask your county treasurer for the protest form when you pay your first half.  You will be contacted by the appraiser's office with a date and time for your hearing to discuss the valuation of your property only.  Other taxation issues go directly to the State Board of Tax Appeals.

The payment under protest hearing with the appraiser is just like the informal appeal that is held in the spring.  Follow the same general guidelines for preparing for this hearing.

New Income Tax Credit Available to Business Machinery And Equipment Owners

The Kansas Tax Reduction and Reform Act of 1998 created an income tax credit for owners of machinery and equipment used in a business related activity.  If you paid this years personal income tax on business machinery and equipment in a timely manner, you may claim this new credit on your Kansas income tax, privilege tax, or insurance company premiums tax return.

How much is the credit?

The credit is 15% of the personal property tax paid on qualified machinery and equipment.

What types of machinery and equipment qualify for the credit?

"Qualifying machinery and equipment" means machinery and equipment required to be listed for property taxation on Schedule 2, Schedule 5, or Schedule 6 by a for-profit business required to file an income tax, privilege tax, or insurance company premiums tax credit.

Schedule 2 Property: Prescribed and/or itemized machinery and equipment used in mineral leasehold interests, including diesel engines, drilling rigs, electric motors, line piping, mud pumps, water injection pumps, oil separators, oil well tubing pumps, pumping jacks, service units, and tanks.

Schedule 5 Property: Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment, including cash registers, computers, construction equipment, fixtures, furniture, gas pumps, manufacturing equipment, medical equipment, signs, trailers and other tangible personal property used in a business.

Schedule 6 Property: All other business related tangible personal property not elsewhere classified, such as spare parts.

Items that DO NOT qualify for the credit include motor vehicles, personal property owned by a public utility, and property not used for a business purpose.

What taxes qualify for the 1998 credit?

For tax year 1998, only the 1998 personal property tax timely paid in 1998 may be used for this credit.  The balance of your 1997 personal property tax paid in 1998, and any delinquent taxes do not qualify for the credit.

What taxes qualify in future years?

For 1999 and subsequent tax years, the personal property tax timely paid in the tax year on business machinery and equipment is the basis for the credit.  For example:  For tax year 1999, you may use the last half of 1998 taxes paid by June 20, 1999, and also the 1999 taxes paid by December 20, 1999.

Who may take the credit?

Any business owner paying personal property tax on qualified machinery and equipment is eligible for the credit.  This Includes:

To obtain Schedule K-64, call the Kansas Department of Revenue's voice mail forms request line at (785) 296-4937.  For more information on this tax credit, please contact the Kansas Department of Revenue offices listed or visit their web site at http://www.ksrevenue.org/taxcredits-machinery.html.  Contact your county officials for information or assistance in determining the amount of personal property taxes paid on commercial and industrial machinery and equipment.

Overland Park
Cloverleaf Office Park, Bldg. 3
6405 Metcalf Ave., Suite 120
Overland Park, KS 66203-3928
Phone:  (913) 677-0158
Fax:  (913) 677-6649
Topeka
Docking State Office Building
915 SW Harrison, 1st Floor
Topeka, KS 66625-0001
Phone:  (785) 296-0222
Fax:  (785) 291-3614
Wichita
State Office Building
230 E. Williams, Room 7150
Wichita, KS 67202-4002
Phone:  (316) 337-6140
Fax:  (316) 337-6162