County Assessor Sends Out Home Assessments

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No doubt, you recently received your 2011 property valuations from the Gila County assessor’s office and probably saw little change in your valuation from 2010.

Larry Huffer of the assessor’s office recently gave an update to the Central Arizona Board of Realtors.

The assessor’s job is not an easy task, as every year they must evaluate all properties in Gila County.

Huffer gave some interesting insights as to how the process works.

There will be some changes next year as the assessment ratio for commercial property will be lowered to 20 percent.

Homes will remain at a 10 percent ratio and vacant land is at a 16 percent ratio.

In a nutshell, this means that commercial property owners pay twice the amount of taxes as a homeowner if the properties have the same valuation.

Commercial property owners in previous years paid as much as two-and-a-half times as much as residential property owners.

An interesting (and for some, probably an unwelcome) change in residential assessments could affect homeowners who rent their properties out on a short-term basis, such as by the week or weekend.

These property owners will find that their properties may now be classified as commercial properties.

The end result is that these property owners may see their real estate taxes double in 2011.

The reason for the change was from pressure exerted by the hotel lodging industry.

Hotel properties are charged at the commercial rate.

They felt they were in an uncompetitive situation with the many homeowners who were renting out their properties and in essence competing with the lodging industry.

This is prevalent in the Valley and some parts of the Rim Country.

The assessor can easily identify your property as one that is available on a short-term basis by checking Web sites such as www.vrbo.com and www.homeaway.com.

With this new guideline already in effect, it may not be surprising to see cities and towns institute a bed tax on these properties.

Some communities already have a sales tax on these types of rentals.

Getting back to your real estate assessment for 2011, if you feel your property has been not valued correctly, you may file an appeal with the assessor.

The appeal must be filed no later than April 29, 2010.

While taxes are probably not on your top 10 list of favorite things, my experience with the assessor’s office is that they are consumer friendly and very fair.

In addition, they are willing to make changes if supplied with appropriate documentation to substantiate a change in value.

Ray Pugel is a designated broker for Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. Contact him at (928) 474-2216.

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