Published On: Thu, May 29th, 2014

Property owners may see an increase in valuation

CENTER — Over 7,700 notices showing a change in valuation will be going out in mail to Knox County property owners Friday, May 30.

With farm land in and around Knox County selling at record prices, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the tax valuations on ag land continue to increase.

Assessed valuations for taxes have to be reflective of the market.

All of the ag land values in Knox County are going up, according to Knox County Assessor Monica McManigal.

“It all depends on the sales,” McManigal said. “Valuations on ag land are definitely going up. All of the ag land is going up – irrigated, dry crop and grassland.”

Irrigated land is going up anywhere from 17-24 percent. Dry crop land will be going up somewhere between 8-25 percent across the county. Grassland values will increase anywhere from one percent up to twenty-five percent according to McManigal.

The Assessor’s Office uses sales from the three previous years to set the values.

Soil types and land use – whether crop, grassland or irrigated – affects the valuations on ag land.

Sales in Knox County have reflected the need for the county to be split into three market areas.

“There will be changes in all three of the market areas. The Bloomfield/Wausa areas have better soil types. It is the highest market area we have,” McManigal said. “To the north and the west it gets a little dryer and it is hilly.”

The 2014 sales ratios for Knox County show ag land is at 70 percent of the market while residential property is at 96 percent and commercial property is at 100 percent of the market.

Valuations on property located in towns in Knox County will only have minor changes.

Valuations for tax purposes are based on the selling price of property.

State law mandates the assessed value on property must fall within a range which is established by the Legislature.

Nebraska statute allows county assessors to value ag land in a range from 69-75 percent of market value while residential and commercial property has to be between 92-00 percent of the market value.

If the county is not within the mandated range an order will be issued for the county to comply.

“The Property Assessment Division issues a Report and Opinion to the counties in April,” McManigal said. “The information goes to Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) later on in April or May.”

A Real Estate Transfer Statement – Form 521 has to be filled out and signed in order to record a deed at the Courthouse when property is sold.

The County Assessor then adds the assessed value of the property to the form and a copy is submitted to the Dept of Revenue.

The raise in valuation does not necessarily mean an increase in taxes according to McManigal.

The market sets the value – the budgets set the taxes.

The tax rate or levy is set after the budgets have been submitted to the Knox County Clerk by mid-August.

If the budgets are asking for more money the taxes will need to go up to cover the expenses.

Property owners have the right to protest

Property owners that disagree with the valuation that is placed on their real estate have the right to protest.

A protest can be filed at the Knox County Clerk’s Office between June 1 and June 30.

County Assessor Monica McManigal urges the property owners to stop at the Assessor’s Office before filing a protest.

The information on the property record card can be reviewed and questions can be answered.

“We can go over the file. We always go out and review the property if there are questions. They would still have time to file a protest if they want to,” McManigal said. “We try to accommodate everyone.”