Angela Johnson, County Assessor
600 East 4th St., Chaska, Minnesota 55318
Phone: (952) 361-1960
Fax: (952) 361-1959
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Understanding Your Property Assessment
In Minnesota, property taxes provide most of the funding for local government services. Carver County collects the taxes and distributes the money between the county, cities, townships, school districts and special districts such as the Metropolitan Council, Southwest Metro Transit, Water Maintenance Organizations and the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District. Each property's share of taxes is determined according to its value, use, and the property tax levies. Assessors are responsible for estimating property values and setting property classification for tax purposes.
Who are these appraisers and what are their credentials?
The Carver County Assessor's Department offers assessing services, via contract, to all districts of the county. Appraisers in Carver County are professionals. Stringent training and experience requirements are set by the Minnesota State Board of Assessors which governs and administers licensure of appraisers. Carver County requires additional training and encourages continuous education in the areas of management, organization and customer service. We provide incentives to employees to make these educational opportunities more attractive.
What does the Assessor do?
The Minnesota property tax law provides certain credits or forms of special tax relief, one of the more common being the Homestead Credit. Applications for Homestead Classification; Application for Tax Exemption; Application for Agricultural Tax and Special Assessment Deferment; Applications for Special Disability Classification are among programs of interest to property owners. Please call the Assessor's office if you think you may qualify.
The law specifically requires that assessors view each parcel of real estate to appraise its market value. Property values change continuously with changing economic conditions. In addition to market changes, numerous physical changes affect the value of land and buildings. All factors that may influence value must be considered when estimating the value of property. This task requires a physical inspection of all property subject to assessment.
The assessor also determines the classification or use of each parcel. For instance, property may be residential homestead (owner-occupied), relative residential homestead (relative of owner is occupant), residential non-homestead, agricultural, or commercial/industrial. Each classification is taxed and receives credits at a different percentage of market value. These percentages are set by the State Legislature.
What is Market Value?
Minnesota Statute 272.03 defines "market value" as "the usual selling price . . . at the time of assessment". It is "the price that could be obtained at a private sale or an auction sale, if the assessor determines that the price from an auction sale represents an arms-length transaction. The price obtained at a forced sale shall not be considered". In other words . . .
Market Value = the price that would
prevail under competitive, open-market
How does the Assessor determine market value?
State law requires that the value and classification of real estate be established as of January 2 each year. The Assessor's Office works throughout the year to estimate the market value of each property for the following January 2 assessment date.
Every fifth year, an appraiser will physically review the property, both the interior and exterior. If the owner is not home, a door tag is left explaining the inspection process. The appraiser will still perform an exterior review at that time. In addition, all new construction, alterations or improvements will be viewed in the current year.
The appraiser gathers information on all characteristics of the property that affect market value, such as size, age, quality, basement finish, and also extra features such as fireplaces, extra baths, walkouts, etc.
The property characteristics are entered into a computerized system. The computer aids the appraiser in estimating the property value. Information from actual sales is used to update the computer model and set the table schedules which are used to update your market value. The market value estimated by the assessor should be at, or very close to, the amount the property would sell for if placed on the open market. The State Board of Equalization requires the overall level of assessment to be between 90% and 105% of market value. Assessors in Carver County consistently meet this standard.
A Value Notice is mailed each spring to every property owner in Carver County. The assessment on January 2 forms the basis for the following year's real estate taxes. That is, the value and classification set by the Assessor on January 2, 2008, is used to calculate the taxes payable in the year 2009.
How You Can Appeal Your Market Value and Property Class
If you disagree with your estimated market value or classification, you may appeal in one of the following ways:
Step One: City or Town Board of Review
Your first official opportunity to appeal your property valuation or class is at the City or Town Board of Review. It is suggested that you call the Assessor's office at the telephone number listed on your Value Notice, and discuss your concerns and ask any questions you may have. You may ask for an appointment for a physical review of your property. You may make your appeal in person, through a designated representative, or by sending a letter. If your appeal is unsuccessful, proceed to step two. NOTE: If you do not first appeal to the local Board of Review, your appeal cannot be heard by the County Board of Equalization.
Step Two: County Board of Equalization
Appeals to the County Board of Equalization can be made in person, through a designated representative or by sending a letter. To schedule an appointment for your appeal, call the County Auditor's office at the number shown on your Value Notice. If you are dissatisfied with the results of your appeal to the County Board of Equalization, you may continue your appeal to step three, the Minnesota Tax Court.
Step Three: Tax Court
There are two divisions of the Minnesota Tax Court: The Small Claims and Regular Division.
The Small Claims Division will hear appeals involving homestead property providing there is only one dwelling unit per parcel per petition, or any property with an estimated market value of less than $300,000. The Small Claims Division is quite informal with a more relaxed atmosphere than the Regular Division. The proceedings are not recorded and the decisions do not set legal precedent. All decisions of the Small Claims Division are final and cannot be appealed to another court. The cost of filing may be obtained by calling the Carver County Court Administrator's number.
The Regular Division will hear all appeals. The Regular Division is more formal than the Small Claims Division. Taxpayers are often represented by an attorney. Ordinary rules of court and evidence apply and the proceedings are recorded. Decisions of the Regular Division can be appealed to a higher court. The cost of filing an appeal may be obtained by calling the Carver County Court Administrator's number.
Appeals may be made directly to the Regular Division of the Minnesota Tax Court without utilizing the City or Town Board of Review and the County Board of Equalization. The Regular Division is described above.
Information About Filing in Tax Court
All appeals to Tax Court must be filed on or before April 30th of the year the tax becomes payable. Specific instructions on how to appeal to Tax Court, as well as forms for same, can be obtained by visiting the Minnesota Tax Court website, by contacting the Minnesota Tax Court at 25 Constitution Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55155, or from the Carver County Court Administrator's office.
For more information on the assessment process, you may contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue at www.taxes.state.mn.us.