By: Aarika Copeland | Category: Consumer News | Issue: May 2023
Tulsa County Assessor John Wright works within the parameters of the law to bring a fair appraisal to property owners. “It is the expectation in our office that we adjust the property assessments to keep them in line with the fair market.”
If you are a Tulsa county resident, then you may have already received your property assessment notice via mail in January. You may be questioning what effect the increased property value notice you received might have on your taxes.
“This is not a bill,” Tulsa County Assessor John Wright affirms. “[The notices] are our effort to communicate with the public,” he said of Tulsa residents receiving their annual assessment notifications.
“The responsibility of the county assessor's office is to put an accurate, fair market value on all property in the county as of the lawful assessment date, which is January 1,” Wright said.
The assessor's office maintains records of the value of all properties in the county and an assesment is based on the value of the land and any improvements (i.e. buildings) on the property. The assessment process can involve an inspection of the property and an analysis of current market data. The value of the property is one part of the equation used to calculate the amount of property tax that the property owner pays.
Property owners can challenge that assessment if they believe it inaccurate. Property owners have a 30-day period from the date on their property value assessment notices or until the first Monday in April if they did not receive a notice. "This appeal opportunity is is the property owners due process,” Wright said.
There is no charge for property owners to file an informal or formal appeal.
“We encourage that appeal. We welcome the conversation to explain what’s going on in the market and how we arrived at the number,” he said.
There is a limit on the amount a property value can increase in one year. This restriction is know as a tax cap. Even in areas where property values are increasing rapidly, the taxable value will increase only 3% to 5% within the year, depending on the applied exemptions. Homesteaded properties can increase up to 3% and non-homesteaded properties can increase up to 5%.
The Homestead Exemption can be filed between Jan. 1 and March 15 annually. Once the exemption is granted, property owners do not need to apply again unless they move. It is available to property owners who use their home as their primary residence with their name on the deed, with the deed also having been filed with the county clerk's office. The Homestead Exemption subtracts $1,000 off of the assessed valuation. Depending on where you live in the county, this equates to a savings of about $91 to $141 each year.
A Senior Freeze Exemption can also be filed until March 15 annually. The exemption is designed for seniors 65 and older, who earn less than the HUD Median Income for the area. For the 2023 tax year, that amount is $82,200. "[The exemption] freezes the valuation of the property at the number of when the application is approved," Assessor Wright said.
“We don’t set the tax rate. We don’t collect the taxes. We don’t send out the tax bill. Our job is evaluation,” Wright said. “Our appraisers seek to use their best judgment based on experience and computer-generated data to come up with the most accurate market number.” He then added, “All of the revenue generated by the property tax is invested locally with a lion’s share going to Tulsa City schools.”
The specific eligibility criteria for these exemptions, as well as applications and a tax estimate calculator can be found on the Tulsa County assessor website.
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