The Constitution of Kentucky requires that "All property, not exempted from taxation by this Constitution, shall be assessed for taxation at its fair cash value, estimated at the price it would bring at a fair voluntary sale." KRS 160.460 states that "all real property located in the state and subject to local taxation shall be assessed at one hundred percent (100%) of fair cash value." These mandates establish the market value standard as law in Kentucky. The purpose of a property tax is to fairly distribute the necessary tax burden among all property owners based upon the market value of their property. Properties are appraised so that some of the cost associated with providing services, such as public education, fire and police protection, roads and utilities, can be allocated to property owners in proportion to the market value of their individual properties.
The Assessor's Office is required by law to conduct an annual reassessment of all real estate in the county. Reassessment does not necessarily result in increased assessments for all properties. The assessment is a estimation of the sale price a property would bring if sold during the time period in which the assessment was made. All residential neighborhoods do not appreciate or depreciate at the same rate. Commercial properties differ, as well, in how the market reacts to changing trends. Generally, in a given fiscal year reassessment, there will be assessments that rise, fall or stay the same based on internal and external factors that influence property values. Reassessment is simply the process by which the assessed value of each property is updated to keep that value consistent with what the property is worth on the open market.
There are three accepted methods for valuing real estate:
To find the value of any property, the assessor must first know the selling prices of similar properties. This method compares your property to others that have sold. When using the sales comparison approach, the assessor considers and analyzes all available market data to arrive at a fair valuation of your property. Size, quality, condition, amenities, location and time of sale are some of the important factors given consideration. The sales comparison approach generally produces the most reliable indication of the value of residential property.
The cost approach estimates the current costs of material and labor needed to replace your home with one of similar quality and function. Depreciation is factored into the valuation of the improvements.
The cost approach is a good method for appraising special purpose and unique properties that are usually owner occupied, seldom sell for the use they were constructed for, and have a limited market base.
The income approach values the revenue producing capabilities of a property. This method reviews market data derived from commercial properties to determine income, expenses, vacancy rates and capitalization rates. A net operating income is capitalized into a value which includes the land. The income approach is widely used to assess commercial properties which generate income derived from tenant leases.
How Is The Amount Of Real Estate Tax Determined?
The assessor's primary responsibility is to estimate the fair market value of your property, so that you pay only your fair share of taxes. The amount you pay in real estate tax is determined by a tax rate applied to the assessed value of your property. The tax rate is set by City Council and determined by the amount of revenue needed to provide the many city services offered to our citizens.
Real Estate Taxes = Assessment x Tax Rate
When Are Taxes Due And To Whom Do I Pay Them?
Tax bills are mailed and paid in the Mercer County Sheriff's Department. The fiscal year (January 1st to December 31st) real estate tax is billed sometime in the fall after September 15th. There will be a period of time specified on the bill which you can receive a discount. The bill will also show the dates to pay the bill without penalties. After that date, penalties are charged. With many homeowners, real estate taxes are paid by their mortgage company from funds in the owner's escrow account. Bills are sometimes sent to the mortgage companies by special request.
What Are Your Rights And Responsibilities?
If you have questions regarding your assessment, or if your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessor's, our staff is available to provide you with answers about the appraisal process and your specific assessment. They will also explain the procedure for requesting a review of the assessment. The phone number for the Mercer County PVA Office is 859-734-6330. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
You can help us with our goal of producing fair and equitable assessments by verifying that the information contained in the assessment record for your property is correct.