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The county assessor's legal responsibility is to determine the fair market value of your property, so that the tax burden can be fairly and equitably distributed. The amount of taxes you pay is determined by a TAX RATE applied to your property's ASSESSED VALUE. The assessor does not assess a tax.
Assessors estimate the value of each parcel of real property in the county and revisit them every few years. Real property is the combination of land and any structures on it. Every home, apartment complex, free-standing store, warehouse or mall has a value; the assessor estimates that value based on the current real estate. The assessor also creates value assessments for new construction and determines whether any reassessment is in order when a property is sold.
The assessor compiles all of these property values into an assessment roll, which is a master list of the value of all the real property in a given county or jurisdiction.
There are two ways assessors can approach valuing real property. The first is the sales approach, based on the value on the recent comparable sale prices of similar structures and property in the area. The second is the cost approach, where the cost of building a new similar structure on a similar piece of property and deduct for aging or condition-related depreciation.