Frequently Asked Questions

 

The Assessor discovers, lists, and values property for AD VALOREM TAXATION. Ad valorem means “according to value.” Property is valued as a percentage of its FAIR MARKET VALUE.

FAIR MARKET VALUE is defined by the LA statutes as…

“the price for property which would be agreed upon between a willing and informed buyer and a willing and informed seller under the usual and ordinary circumstances; it shall be the highest price estimated in terms of money which property will bring if exposed for sale on the open market with reasonable time allowed to find a purchaser who is buying with knowledge of all the uses and purposes to which the property is best adapted and for which it can be legally used.”

The Louisiana Constitution provides the basic framework for ad valorem taxation. The Legislature makes the tax laws. The Louisiana Tax Commission makes the rules and regulations. The Assessors across the state determine the assessed value of each property within their respective parishes within the framework of the Constitution, the Revised Statutes, and the rules and regulations set forth by the Louisiana Tax Commission.

The tax rates are set by the taxing entities (those who receive the tax dollars) within each parish. In Plaquemines Parish, the taxing entities are:

• School Board
• Sheriff
• Parish Government
• Port
• Hospital District
• Assessor’s Office

Property is appraised for purposes of assessment just as property is appraised for the purposes of a mortgage… based on an analysis using the three nationally recognized appraisal methodologies. The methodologies are the Sales Comparison Approach, the Cost Approach and the Income Approach. Sales data, cost data, and income data are collected and analyzed. The applicable approaches are reconciled to determine market value.

Properties are grouped into comparable data sets based on value factors such as location, age, and size and the unit values are applied in mass. Properties are not individually appraised.

Real property is appraised for reassessment purposes no less than once every four years. Personal property (moveable property such as machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures) is appraised annually.

The FAIR MARKET VALUE of the property as of the effective valuation date is determined by the Assessor. The ASSESSED VALUE is then calculated based on 15% of the fair market value for all commercial improvements and 10% of fair market value for all residential improvements and all land. The percentages are set forth in the Constitution. The assessed value is multiplied by the millage (tax) rate as set by the taxing bodies to determine the TAX DOLLARS.

Property TAXES can increase because of:

• New millages
• Millage rates increase
• Market value increases
• Physical changes/additions which add value

Taxpayers have a legal responsibility to furnish correct information regarding their property to the Assessor’s office, and are entitled to question the values placed on their property.

If the taxpayer’s opinion of value differs from the Assessor’s, the taxpayer should first review the assessment with the Assessor’s office to be sure the Assessor’s factual data is accurate and provide the supporting documentation for any differences. Examples of supporting documentation are plans and specs, construction contracts, recent independent appraisal reports prepared by a LA State Licensed appraiser, etc.

If after reviewing the assessment with the Assessor’s office, the taxpayer is still of the opinion that the value is not correct, the taxpayer may appeal the assessment to the Plaquemines Parish Board of Review. The Plaquemines Parish Government is the local Board of Review.

If the decision of the Board of Review is not acceptable to either the taxpayer or the Assessor, either party may appeal the Board’s decision to the Louisiana Tax Commission. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the Louisiana Tax Commission, the decision may be appealed to the courts.

There are specific forms and deadlines associated with the appeal process which must be strictly adhered to in order to successfully appeal. The form for an appeal to the Board of Review and the form for an appeal to the Louisiana Tax Commission differ. Both can be found on the Louisiana Tax Commission website.