By: Macy Goodnight | Category: Financial Services | Issue: February 2020
Tulsa County Assessor, John A. Wright.
Most people are less than enthusiastic when it comes to property taxes, but your County Assessor, John A. Wright, believes that all citizens benefit by understanding the function, responsibility, and performance of the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office, and how they work for you.
The Office of the County Assessor is responsible for placing a Fair Cash (Market) Value on property, and the valuation process begins Jan. 1 each year. Oklahoma property taxes are “ad valorem,” in Latin meaning “as to value.” Unless a federal or state law provides an exemption, all property in the State of Oklahoma is taxable. Once the value is established, an assessment is converted, which is a primary component in computing real property tax liability. It is not the jurisdiction or responsibility of the Assessor for jurisdiction budgets or tax rates. “Our job is the valuation of property,” said Mr. Wright. “In order for there to be a sense of support for this process, we are completely transparent in that we’ve been thorough, we’ve been fair, our personnel have been well trained, and we’ve applied the rules equitably.”
In the midst of tax season, property owners should be aware that appeals to property values can be made beginning Jan. 1 until April 7 (the first Monday in April). “We protect and honor the right of appeal for the property owner to challenge our work, and that’s part of the constitutional provision that citizens shall not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process.” Property owners have the right to an informal and formal appeal if they challenge the Assessors office valuation. The formal appeal is separated from the County Assessor’s Office to assure the property owner that they are getting a fair and independent review. If the notice of property value has been received, the owner will have 30 days to appeal.
Additionally, during the tax season, homeowners will want to be aware of any exemptions that they might be eligible for. The most common of these is the Homestead Exemption. This exemption is available as long as an owner lives in and retains ownership of the property. Exemptions can provide substantial savings for property owners, and the County Assessor’s Office is eager to help its citizens in meeting these goals. “Personally, I think we should have the lowest tax burden we can possibly have,” said Mr. Wright, “but I understand the impact we make as property owners. We are all making these investments that actually support everybody’s property values.”
The County Assessor’s website at www.assessor.tulsacounty.org provides a wealth of information and resources to assist property owners in exploring how their taxes are used, including a comprehensive Ad Valorem Property Tax Fiscal Year report. “The property taxes stay very much with local services,” Mr. Wright said. “It’s set up that way so people can see the fruits of their dollars at work.” Property taxes are calculated based on local millage rates, which are approved by voters, legislature and the constitution. Funds from millage rates are principally allocated to schools, with some allowances for career tech, community college, Health Department and libraries.
Above all, the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office and John Wright are working to ensure that property owners are well-informed and provided with fair and equitable tax resources. “We have an excellent staff to execute these functions on behalf of the taxpayers,” he said.
For more information, visit the County Assessor’s website, or schedule an appointment at (918) 596-5100.
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