Frequently Asked Questions

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Amendment 79 Questions

What does “I am buying on a land contract” mean?

A land contract is a Purchase Agreement between the Seller and the Buyer. The Seller carries the note (no bank is involved) and the Buyer makes payments directly to the Seller. The Buyer does not receive the deed from the Seller (which would grant the Buyer ownership of the property) until the Seller has received the final payment, which satisfies the Buyer’s financial obligation to the Seller. In our records, ownership is not transferred until we receive a deed. The Buyer of a land contract arrangement may instead apply for the tax credit if the Purchase Agreement has been filed and recorded in the Circuit Clerk’s Office.

How many homestead credits can I have?

A property owner may claim only one property tax credit (homestead credit) in the state of Arkansas. Anyone discovered to be receiving the credit who does NOT qualify or who files a fraudulent application to receive the $350 property tax credit, must repay the $350 credit for each year it was received, plus a 10% penalty for the years 2000 and 2001; a 100% penalty for 2002 through current tax year.

The Ashley County Tax Collector will be sending a revised tax statement to the owner of record of the property in question, for the $350 property tax credit plus interest for all the years that the credit was received.

Where do I put the Amendment 79 Tax Credit on my income taxes?

You do not put the tax credit on your income taxes.

Do I have to reapply every year?

No. Once you have applied for and received the credit, you do not have to reapply each year. The only time that you would need to reapply for the credit would be when you change your primary place of residence (i.e. sell your house and buy a different one).

I just found out about the Amendment 79 Tax Credit. I do not understand why I cannot receive the credit for all of the years I missed and why it was not automatically applied to all homeowners?

First we need to verify that the property that you are applying to receive the credit on is your primary/homestead residence. Arkansas State Law requires that all homeowners must apply to be declared eligible and to receive the credit, and the homeowner’s signature is required to process the application. All applications must be submitted by October 15th on any given year to receive the credit for that year. The tax credit is not automatically applied to all homeowners because it is a voluntary tax credit.

I only received the tax credit on one of my properties. What about the other properties that I did not receive a tax credit on?

You are only eligible to receive the credit on your primary/homestead property, and only on one property per taxpayer.

Will I receive a refund check?

No. Amendment 79 is a CREDIT which is applied to your Real Estate Tax bill.

If my assessment is frozen (because I am over 65 and applied for the value freeze), do I still get the Amendment 79 Tax Credit?

Yes.

How does the Amendment 79 Tax Credit work?

Amendment 79 provides a tax credit for property owners on their homestead (your primary residence) property. There are only two requirements for eligibility:

  1. The property is your primary residence.
  2. You are the owner of record.

The credit is itemized on your Real Estate Tax bill as a credit toward the amount of your taxes due.

Who do I contact about:

Receiving your tax bill: Ashley County Collector (870)853-2050

Proof of payment of your taxes: Ashley County Collector (870)853-2050

Checking your personal property assessment: Ashley County Assessor  (870)853-2060

Checking your real estate assessment: Ashley County Assessor  (870)853-2060

Real Property Questions

What are my taxes for this year?

Taxes are always paid a year behind, so the taxes that are paid this year will be for the previous year.  Until the tax collector mails out the tax bills, we are unable to give an exact amount.

Why did my taxes go up so much?

If it is a new house, the previous taxes may have been for only a portion of the house since it was not complete.  Buildings are assessed when they are at least fifty percent (50%) complete on January 1 of the tax year and the total value is assessed at that percentage.  Since the house is officially 10 percent (100%) complete, the taxes reflect that change.  Someone’s appraised value may rise if they added anything new to an existing improvement, if their millage rate went up, or if their land went from agricultural to residential status.

When are taxes due?

Tax bills are mailed in the spring, during March and are due on October 15.

How are taxes calculated?

To calculate an approximation of the taxes that are due take the assessed value (20% of the current total appraised value) and multiply that by the relevant current millage rate.

For Example:
If your home is appraised at $100,000 and the millage rate for your homes location is 46.66 mils then:

$20,000 (Assessed value is 20% or 1/5th of appraised value)

X 0.04666 (One mill is one thousandth of one percent)

=$933.20 (Estimated Taxes)

Now please remember that this amount of estimated taxes may be reduced by $350 if the home meets amendment 79 requirements for a homestead. Call us to see if you qualify (Hamburg Office: 870-853-2060 or Crossett Office: 870-364-4207).

How much did I pay in property taxes last year?

The Tax Collector (870-853-2050) should have that on file.

I am building a new house. What are my taxes going to be?

Because we do not know the appraised value of the new house, use this formula to estimate:  (market value of house x 20%) x current millage = taxes.

My house was just finished. Do I need to assess it or anything?

Once the house is recorded, it will be assessed automatically.  Appraisers assess the entire county every five years unless there is new construction, in which case there are field checks every year until construction is complete.  It is a good idea to check your real estate assessment every year.

When and how can I appeal my assessment?

Although the appeals process may seem like a difficult process it really is not.  If you believe that your home is not valued correctly begin by speaking with our office about how we go about determining value.  If after this discussion you are still of the belief that your home is not valued correctly then we can arrange for you to discuss your concerns directly with our appraiser (called an informal hearing).  If you are not satisfied with the results of this meeting we will arrange for you to meet with the Equalization Board.  The Equalization Board normally meets in the months of August and September to hear assessment appeals.  Appointments may be scheduled prior to the meetings starting in August by calling the County Clerk (870-853-2020), from July 1 through the third Monday in August.  If after this meeting you are still not satisfied with the results you can appeal their decision to the County Court which is presided over by the County Judge.  Appeals of the decision of the County Court are done through the Circuit and higher courts.

What is the Homestead Credit?

The Homestead Credit, also known as Amendment 79 is designed to give homeowners up to a $350 tax credit on property taxes every year.  Homes qualifying as a primary residence are eligible for the Amendment 79 credit ($350) for the current/purchase year.  The credit limits assessment increases to 5% (plus increases due to new improvements) on residential owner occupied properties and 10% (plus increases due to new improvements) on non-owner occupied residential properties, commercial properties and vacant properties.  Amendment 79 applications must be completed and turned in no later than October 15 to receive the credit for the current year.  In order to have the assessed value frozen, you must be 65 years of age or deemed 100% disabled by social security standards on January 1 of the year you are applying for the benefit;  otherwise it will take effect the following year.  Please note that taxes can still increase on “fixed” parcels because millage rates may increase.  Fixed parcels only receive a freeze in assessed values, not taxes.  Therefore, if the millage rate increases, a homeowner’s taxes will also increase.

Where can I get a deed?

You can have a title company or a lawyer prepare one.  There are forms on the Internet and in most cases office supply businesses.  All deeds, surveys and easements are filed with the Circuit Clerk.

My spouse passed away. I would like to have his/her name removed from my assessment. How do I do this?

Depending on the way the real estate is titled, we may be able to remove the name from the assessment with a death certificate.    Death certificates are sometimes filed with the Circuit Clerk.  Probates and marriage licenses are filed with the County Clerk.

How do I correct acreage?

Acreage corrections require surveys.

The law states that only an attorney or a surveyor can write/create legal descriptions in the state of Arkansas.

I own two parcels of land. Is it possible to have my two parcels combined?

We will be glad to look and see if ACD rules will allow them to be combined.  If so, we will combine the parcel.

What is the difference between personal property and real estate?

Personal property consists of cars, trailers, and motor homes.  Real estate includes land, houses, mobile homes, fixed improvements and more.

How are mobile homes assessed?

Although there are no deeds filed for mobile homes (MH), they are assessed as real estate.  When you purchase a mobile home, it will be listed on your personal assessment at zero value.  We do this, to verify your ownership (did not sale during prior year) when you assess your personal property.

Is my property exempt?

The first question to be answered to determine if a property is exempt is, what property in Arkansas is exempt from taxation?

The Arkansas Constitution is very specific in determining what property is exempt, that being; (1) public property used exclusively for public purposes; (2) churches used as such; (3) cemeteries used exclusively as such; (4) school buildings and apparatus; (5) libraries and grounds used exclusively for school purposes; and (6) buildings and grounds and material used exclusively for charity, Ark. Constitution Art. 16 Sec. 5. (7) All capital invested in a textile mill for the manufacture of cotton and fiber goods in any manner is exempt for seven years from the date of the location of said mill, Arkansas Constitution Amd. 12. (8) Intangible personal property may be designated as one or more classes of personal property and such class or classes may be exempted by the legislature, Arkansas Constitution Amd. 57. All intangible personal property has been exempted by the legislature, ACA 26-3-302. Household furniture and furnishings, clothing, appliances, and other personal property within the home, if not held for sale, rental, or other commercial or professional use, are exempt, Arkansas Constitution Amd. 71.

Who makes the decision as to whether a property is exempt or not?

The assessor and the assessor alone has the full and sole authority to make the decision, but the decision is subject to appeal, The assessor will use the guidelines specified above, court decisions, and statutory mandates to determine exemption status.

How do I apply for exemption?

1. You need to fill out an exemption application which can be obtained on line or by coming to the office. This document, as well as other requested documents will be used in making a determination. If you do not agree with the determination you do have the right to appeal the assessors decision.

2. What property in Arkansas is exempt from taxation? (1) public property used exclusively for public purposes; (2) churches used as such; (3) cemeteries used exclusively as such; (4) school buildings and apparatus; (5) libraries and grounds used exclusively for school purposes; and (6) buildings and grounds and material used exclusively for charity, Ark. Constitution Art. 16 Sec. 5. (7) All capital invested in a textile mill for the manufacture of cotton and fiber goods in any manner is exempt for seven years from the date of the location of said mill, Arkansas Constitution Amd. 12. (8) Intangible personal property may be designated as one or more classes of personal property and such class or classes may be exempted by the legislature, Arkansas Constitution Amd. 57. All intangible personal property has been exempted by the legislature, ACA 26-3-302. Household furniture and furnishings, clothing, appliances, and other personal property within the home, if not held for sale, rental, or other commercial or professional use, are exempt, Arkansas Constitution Amd. 71.

3. Are there any uses of property not contained in the constitution that are exempt? No, all laws exempting property from taxation, other than as provided in the constitution, shall be void, Arkansas Constitution Art.16 Sec. 6. This section is a limitation upon the legislature to exempt property, Brodie v. Fitzgerald, 57 Ark. 445, 22 S.W. 29 (1893), Wayland v. Snapp, 232 Ark 57, 334 S.W.2d 633 (1960).

What is an Appraisal?

An appraisal is an opinion of market value as of a specific date.

How are appraised values established?

Your property value is based on these two key factors:

  1. Your property’s current use (such as home, business, unimproved land, etc.).
  2. Your property’s characteristics: Location, Improvement Size (Total Living Area), Age (Effective Age of Property), Quality of Construction and Amenities (such as bathroom count, garage, carport, view, etc.)
How do appraisers determine the market value of my property?

Our appraisal company will inspect all properties to ensure that our records reflect actual property characteristics.  They will then review and verify market sales and study cost and income data.

They will then complete a market analysis using Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) software system by comparing properties of similar size, age, location and description.  Finally, they will establish reappraisal values that reflect current market conditions as of the lien date for real property (January 1) of the appropriate reappraisal year.

How does the general maintenance and condition of my property influence its value?

The market value of your property is not affected by the general maintenance of your property.  Repairs (such as a new roof, fresh paint or landscaping neither add nor detract from the property value for assessment purposes.  While these types of repairs can be costly, they are considered to be normal maintenance expenses that all properties incur over time.

How will structural damage to my property influence its value?

When fire or structural damage causes a property to become structurally unsound, the appraised value may be affected.  A field inspection of the property is required to determine the extent of the value impact.

What gives the assessor’s appraiser the authority to come on someone’s property?

Arkansas law makes it the assessor’s responsibility to physically inspect property to determine what is there that gives the value. A.C.A. 26-26-91(b)(1) states: “For the purpose of enabling the assessor to determine just and equitable values of property, he is authorized, and it shall be his duty, to enter upon and make such personal inspections thereof as he shall deem necessary.”

Do I have to let the appraiser in my house?

No. Interior inspections of residences are not required.

Why did the appraiser measure that old barn at the back of my property when it’s not worth anything?

The ACD Rules and Regulations require all real estate improvements to be listed on the property record card. That includes any improvements that are deemed to have no contributory value. Dimensional elements of NCV (no contributory value) improvements are optional.

I bought my house from my father-in-law for $20,000 last year. Why is it appraised for $80,000?

The appraised value of your property for ad valorem tax purposes is based upon current market value. Market value is the most probable price that a property would bring if exposed to the open market for a reasonable period of time. It is the price that a willing buyer and a willing seller would agree upon under usual and ordinary circumstances in the open market.

A homeowner asks, “I’m turning 65 in July, does that mean that my property taxes won’t go up this year?

Amendment 79 caps the assessment on a person’s principle place of residence once he or she is 65 years of age.  It does not cap taxes.  Even if someone’s assessment does not increase, his or her taxes will if there is a millage rate increase in the city, county, or school district where he or she resides.

Who do I contact about property that has been taken by the state for back taxes?

Contact the State Land Commissioner’s office at (501) 324-9222 or on the web at www.state.ar.us/land/land.html

Who do I contact about:

Receiving your tax bill: Ashley County Collector (870)853-2050

Proof of payment of your taxes: Ashley County Collector (870)853-2050

Checking your personal property assessment: Ashley County Assessor  (870)853-2060

Checking your real estate assessment: Ashley County Assessor  (870)853-2060

I just moved to Arkansas. What is the assessment process?

Business Personal Property Questions

In my business I use my personal computer and desk. Do I have to assess them under my business name?

Yes, once any item is used for business it becomes assessable under the business name.

When will I get my tax bill?

In March of the following year.

How do I appeal my value?

By making an appointment during the appeal period in the month of August and meeting with the Board of Equalization.

When can I assess my business?

You can assess your business anytime between January 2nd and May 31st.

Do I assess my leased copy machine?

No. The owner of the equipment is responsible for assessing it with our office.

If I do not assess by May 31st, what happens?

A late penalty of 10% is added to your assessment.  This percentage is set by state law.

My business opened in March. When do I assess?

May 31st of the current year.

What is the assessment deadline?

The assessment deadline is May 31st of each year.

Who has to assess?

Any business owner who operates a business and who holds personal property used in the course of operating said business.

What is Business Personal Property?

Any asset(s) that are owned by a business, such as vehicles, furniture, machinery and equipment.

Who do I contact about:

Receiving your tax bill: Ashley County Collector (870)853-2050

Proof of payment of your taxes: Ashley County Collector (870)853-2050

Checking your personal property assessment: Ashley County Assessor  (870)853-2060

Checking your real estate assessment: Ashley County Assessor  (870)853-2060

Personal Property Questions

What if I sell my car in the middle of the year?

Property sold or disposed of prior to May 31st will be removed from assessment.  If you sell or dispose of property after May 31st it will remain on your assessment for the rest of the year.

What if I buy a car in the middle of the year?

If you purchased the car before the deadline for assessing (May 31st) then it must be assessed by May 31st to avoid the 10% penalty fee for a late assessment.  Vehicles purchased in May have 30 days from the date of sale to assess without a penalty.

How is property assessed?

The Ashley County Assessor sets the value for the county, according to the valuation tables that are mandated by the Assessment Coordination Department for the State of Arkansas.  Taxes are then calculated by taking 20% of market value (assessed value) and multiplying that by the local tax rate.

When and how can I appeal my assessment?

You should speak with our office first to eliminate any possibility of clerical or factual error.  If the issue is not resolved, then you can call the County Clerk (870-853-2020) after July 1st to schedule an appointment with the Equalization Board.   The Equalization Board meets starting August 1st to hear assessment appeals.  Requests for appointments must be received by the clerk no later than 4:30 pm on the third Monday in August.

Why did my taxes go up?

The most common reason is that you purchased an additional vehicle, or traded for a more valuable vehicle.  Other reasons could be that the millage rate has changed, or in the case of older vehicles, that the market values provided by the state have increased.

Why do I have to pay taxes if I do not have any children in school?

It is true that the majority of property taxes support schools, but they are also needed for roads, libraries, and  city and county government.

May I change my address?

If the move takes place before May 31st notify us so that we can change the mailing address and make corrections to the tax district if necessary.  If the move took place after May 31st we will change the mailing address, and if the tax district has changed, make a note of the new district so it can be updated the following year.

May I add a vehicle over the phone?

Yes, unless you are moving here from another county and state and this is your first assessment in Ashley County.  If so, you will have to come to the Hamburg or Crossett office to assess your vehicle for the first time.

Do I assess old farm tractors or equipment?

Yes, all farm equipment is assessable even if you are not required to tag it; this includes 4-wheelers, old boats, homemade trailers, tractors, and tractor attachments.

I have an old vehicle that is broken down. Do I have to assess it?

If you own a vehicle and it does not run, or you are not tagging it, it is still assessable.  To remove it from your assessment, you must sell, give away, or salvage the vehicle.

What if I move to another state?

If you move before May 31st, please contact our office and we will delete your assessment.  If you move after May 31st, you still owe property taxes in Ashley County for that year.

What is the deadline for assessing personal property?

The deadline for assessing all types of personal property; including exempt property is May 31st. Assessments filed after this date will include a 10% penalty.

Are disabled veterans required to pay property taxes on their real or personal property?

In some cases the answer would be no, in addition, surviving spouses and minor dependents of disabled veterans may not be required to pay those property taxes.  For more information contact the County Collector’s Office (870-853-2050).

Who do I contact about:

Receiving your tax bill: Ashley County Collector (870)853-2050

Proof of payment of your taxes: Ashley County Collector (870)853-2050

Checking your personal property assessment: Ashley County Assessor  (870)853-2060

Checking your real estate assessment: Ashley County Assessor  (870)853-2060