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Taxation & Assessment

Role of the State Assessor

Introduction

The Office of the State Assessor, within the Division of Community and Regional Affairs, has oversight responsibility for municipal assessor's offices across the state. This oversight responsibility includes monitoring assessment, valuation, and taxation issues. If a municipality fails to perform its assessment/tax responsibilities in accordance with the law, the Office of the State Assessor may issue a "notice of major error", which the municipality must correct before the beginning of the next fiscal year. There is an appeal procedure set forth in statutes. The office is also charged with the requirement of calculating the full value of all municipalities and school districts within the state (AS 29.45.103-.105 and AS 14.17.510).

Narrative

The State Assessor not only has oversight responsibility for local assessors but also provides assistance to municipalities in matters of assessments, valuations, and taxation. Taxation matters are not limited to property taxes but also include sales, excise, and severance taxes.

The State Assessor also provides training to municipalities on assessments and valuations. The use of the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) workshops and courses assist with this training. Many of these courses offer a full one week (30 hours) of instruction and help keep appraisers up to date on appraisal information.

The Alaska Taxable is an annual publication produced by the Office of the State Assessor and is the annual report to the legislature outlining assessment practices and procedures and summarizing local values, taxes, and full values for all municipalities within the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the state assessor prepare "assessments" similar to that of the local assessor?

No. But the office does prepare a "full value" for municipalities that is used for education funding formulas. Full values are prepared for all boroughs, home rule and first class cities, second class cities that are school districts.

Why is the state full and true value calculated and what is it used for?

The state full and true value is a tool that can be used to compare assessment levels and equity statewide. It is also used in the educational funding formula. (AS 14.17.510). Equalizing the local assessed values by accounting for differences in local assessment practices assures that each municipality pays no more than their fair share for local education. The state full value is not used to calculate local property taxes.

Why is the state full and true value always higher than the actual locally assessed value?

The local assessed values represent only those values that are subject to the local mill rate. For example, some municipalities, like Fairbanks, have elected to exempt all personal property, while some, like Anchorage, assess personal property. In order to equalize assessed values statewide, these optional exemptions are added back into the "full value" estimate. Each municipality is required to conduct a sales ratio report that reflects the general level of assessment. Typically, these assessment levels are less than the state requirement of 100% of market value. When the ratios are different, either higher or lower than the state requires, the total assessed value of the municipality is adjusted to reflect the state mandated 100% of market value. Generally these values must be adjusted upwards.

Can I appeal my local assessed value to the State Assessor?

No, the assessment appeal procedure is set out in statute (AS 29.45.190-210). An appeal of the local assessment is heard by the local Board of Equalization and if the appellant is not satisfied with the decision, it may be appealed to the superior court.

Can the State Assessor require the local assessor to change assessed values?

It is possible for the State Assessor to require the local assessor to change value(s) if it was found that the values were not made in accordance with state law and issued a letter of major error.

Applicable Laws and Regulations

Alaska Constitution

  • Article IX, Section 3 Assessment standards
  • Article X, Section 14 Executive branch agency to advise and assist local governments.

Alaska Statutes

  • AS 14.17.510  Public School funding, determination deadline.
  • AS 29.45.103  Taxation records, availability of records.
  • AS 29.45.105  Errors in taxation procedures, state assessor notice, appeal.
  • AS 29.45.110  Full and true value, exceptions.
  • AS 29.60.030  Determination of mill rate equivalent for municipal tax resource (revenue sharing).

Alaska Administrative Code

  • 3 AAC 139.010  Inspection of records by state assessor, complaint investigation, prior notice.
  • 3 AAC 130.020  Notice of errors, resolving/correcting error.
  • 3 AAC 139.020  Appeal of state assessor's determination, timelines for decision and correction.
  • 3 AAC 139.900  Definitions.
Revised 7/1/13