February 2018: Many people are probably unaware of the effort the Tulsa County Assessor puts forth in order to meet with citizen groups and help them understand how the property tax system in Oklahoma functions. If you own real estate or a business, you can expect to get a tax bill. Most of us would rather not have to pay taxes, but often when people have an opportunity to hear about how the system functions and get answers to their questions, it helps dissipate some of their frustration.
Citizens are surprised to discover how structured the functions of the assessor’s office are. There are constitutional, statutory, regulatory, and professional guidelines that must be followed. And it must be done at the same time of the year each year. The process is statistical in nature because we perform “mass appraisal”, which means we analyze a number of market and other factors and mathematically determine a property’s value. We do a good job of this, and our performance is subjected to a rigorous audit by the Oklahoma Tax Commission every year. That performance is then reported to the State Board of Equalization. Since the audit went into effect in 2012, the Tulsa County Assessor has been at or near the top in the state each year, including two perfect scores.
At every meeting with citizens, we take the opportunity to ensure the homeowners are getting the exemptions to which they are entitled. If you own and live in your home on January 1, you can apply for a Homestead Exemption. On average, this will save taxpayers around $131 a year. You need only apply, and it can be done online. If your gross household income from all sources is less than $63,900 and you are 65 years of age or older, you may qualify for the Property Valuation Limitation (Senior Freeze). This freezes the taxable fair cash value of your home, meaning the taxable fair cash value can’t be raised. In addition, veterans who are 100%, permanently disabled can apply for a 100% exemption from property taxes. To learn more about these and other exemptions, you are invited to visit our website at www.assessor.tulsacounty.org. Or you can call our office at (918) 596-5100. Our employees are genuinely interested in answering your questions and helping ensure that you are receiving the exemptions for which you qualify.
John A. Wright has been on the senior staff at the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office for over seven years. He has received Advanced Appraiser Accreditation from Oklahoma State University, and he is an IAAO Accredited Member through the International Association of Assessing Officers. He currently is the Chief Deputy Assessor. He is a former Oklahoma House of Representatives member and Oklahoma Real Estate Broker.
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