MC Tax Equalization Fact Sheet

 


Property Tax Assessment
Fact Sheet & Answers

 

May 2023

 

Many Morton County residents rightfully have questions about recent property reassessments. The Morton County Office of Tax Equalization understands the property tax assessment process can be frustrating for many residents. As part of our county’s commitment to full transparency and service to our residents, we have put together this information sheet.

 

As you can see, we provide both important information on the assessment process and answer some questions frequently asked by Morton County residents. All residents must know that they can contact the Office of Tax Equalizations with any questions or concerns. Feel free to contact us at (701) 667-3325 or email us at mortoncountytax@mortonnd.org.

We also encourage residents to download and share this information sheet with any friends or neighbors who also have questions or concerns.

 

 

About the Property Tax Assessment Process

 

Fact: Morton County is complying with North Dakota State Law and Requirements.

 

The current increases are in compliance with North Dakota law and requirements. The increases are being driven by the home sales in Morton County in 2022. The increases are not a result of any errors made by Morton County.

  • The State of North Dakota grants the State Board of Equalization authority to set requirements for counties to ensure equalization among the counties in North Dakota Century Code 57-13-03.

 

  • The Assessment Sales Ratio Study Guideline drafted by the State Board of Equalization provides more details regarding how county entities enforce the state mandates relative to the assessment of property taxes.

 

  • The guidance from the State Board of Equalization requires counties to set the total assessed value for the county between 90% and 100% of the prior year’s total assessed value modified by the prior year’s sales ratio.

 

  • North Dakota Century Code states: “True and Full Value as the value determined by considering the earning or productive capacity, if any, the market value, if any, and all other matters that affect the actual value of the property to be assessed.” 

 

Fact: Current increases are being driven by increased home sales in 2022.

 

  • In 2022, Morton County was in compliance with the assessment values set by the State Board of Equalization.
  • Due to increased home sales in 2022, the 2022 assessments placed the county at an average of 76% of the sales value. 
  • In order to remain in compliant with the state’s expectation, we had to increase property values proportionate to the sales to reach the 90 to 100% level required by state law.

 

Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions by Residents

 

Why are my residential property values increasing?

 

  • Property values are directly linked to the market value of a home. When residential home sales fluctuate in price, values follow suit. 
  • In 2022, the price of home sales showed a significant increase, thus triggering increasing taxable values for 2023.

How do you calculate the value of my home and property?

         

  • Morton County’s Software Program: Morton County uses a program called CamaVision® with Vanguard. This program assists the county in conducting mass appraisals on homes within our jurisdiction. This system prepares a home's value based on the characteristics of the home and property. It also considers the previous year's residential home sales for that area.

 

  • Assessment Criteria: This system evaluates a home’s value based on location, age, size, quality, aesthetic qualities.
  • Important for Homeowners to Contact County: At times, the characteristics of the home and property may be documented improperly, creating a lower or higher valuation for the home. It is important for property owners to contact the County Tax Department to ensure their home is properly documented with the Tax Office, allowing for a more accurate property assessment.

 

I have heard of the terms market value, true and full value, assessed value, and taxable value of a home. What is used to assess my home and why?

 

  • Different valuations can vary in meaning and are often used for different reasons. The ones we often encounter during the assessment process is true and full value, market value, assessed value and taxable value. 

 

-         Market value, also called “True and Full Value”, is an estimated amount that an active buyer would be willing to pay for the purchase of your home. 

 

-         Assessed value is calculated at ½ or 50% of the market value based on prior year’s sales.

 

-         The taxable value is set at 9% of the assessed value.  From there, the taxable value is multiplied by the mill  levy to determine your consolidated annual taxes.

 

-         The mill levy is calculated by dividing total taxable value by tax dollars levied by each taxing districts.

 

Example:  A home with a market value of $200,000 would have an assessed value of $100,000 and a taxable value of $9,000. 

 

  • The Morton County Auditor uses a taxable value of a property to determine the proportion of taxes to be levied.

 

If my assessed value is increasing by 25%, does that mean my taxes owed are increasing by 25%? 

 

  • In short, the answer is no.  Taxes do not change in proportion to the values alone.  They increase or decrease based on the total value and the total tax dollars approved to be levied. 

 

  • Often times, when a large increase in values occur, the mill rate will decrease because the percentage change in total value is larger than the percentage increase in the total tax dollar.

 

  • The total tax due is an accumulation of levies from multiple taxing entities (county, city, township, school board, park board. etc…) throughout the County that is authorized to levy property taxes. 

 

What if I disagree with the valuation of my property?

 

  • Homeowner Options: At times, homeowners will have a differing opinion of what a home or property is assessed. There are options for contesting the valuation and we encourage you to utilize those resources.
  • Call the County: You have the option to call our office at (701) 667-3325 and speak to a specialist within the County. We can provide you with the information we used to determine the value of your home. From there, we can adjust any misinformation and potentially adjust the valuation based on the newly provided information.
  • Transparency and Education: We are also happy to educate homeowners of the processes we use to determine the value. If you do not understand the increase or are unclear on our process, just call us. We can meet in-person or discuss over the phone. At times, we may be able to come onsite an evaluate the property to further attempt to resolve any perceived differences.

 

May I voice my concerns at the June 8th Public Hearing?

 

  • June 8th Public Hearing: Those with concerns are encouraged to share their thoughts with the Morton County Commission during the public hearing on Thursday, June 8.

 

  • But… It’s Best to Contact the County Before June 8th: 

 

-         However, for some residents, June 8th may be too late to adjudicate your concerns. 

-         The Tax Equalization Office has a process in place to address valuation concerns. 

-         The County Commission will ask whether you have completed that process prior to bringing your concerns to a public hearing. 

-         Most often, the Tax Equalization Office can bring you resolution or provide further education that may alleviate or resolve the disagreements. 

 

 

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For more information, please contact the Morton County Office of Tax Equalization
at (701) 667-3325 or email us at mortoncountytax@mortonnd.org.