By, Macy Goodnight: The mere idea of property taxes might seem burdensome and confusing, but gaining an understanding of the fundamentals about the subject can be advantageous to every homeowner. Your Tulsa County Assessor, John A. Wright, believes that all citizens benefit by understanding the function, responsibility, and performance of the County Assessor’s Office and how they work for you. “We are very well designed to protect the rights of property owners, and we want to help people understand how we are structured,” said Mr. Wright.
The Office of the County Assessor is responsible for placing a Fair Cash (Market) Value on property, and the valuation process begins January 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 January 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 Assessor’s 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. In the last year, many appeals have taken place over the phone, as the law allows, to protect both citizens and personnel.
It is always beneficial for homeowners to be aware of any exemptions that they might be eligible for. Exemptions can provide substantial savings for property owners, and the County Assessor’s Office is eager to help its citizens in meeting these goals. Property owners are encouraged to visit the County Assessor’s website at www.assessor.tulsacounty.org, which provides a wealth of information and resources to assist property owners in exploring how
their taxes are used, including a complete list of possible exemptions and eligibility requirements. Homeowners can also view detailed information about their property and can make comparisons with similar properties in the area. “We are very candid with our information,” said Mr. Wright. “Many people have a great deal of investment in their home value, and this can really give them insight.” The website ranges around four thousand visitors per day, and is used by banks, realtors, and insurance companies. “Knowledgeable consumers are using it to stay aware of what’s going on with their property value,” he said.
In February, the County Assessor’s offices will move across the street to their new location at 218 West 6th Street in Downtown Tulsa. The new building was purchased by the county to provide more space to accommodate the growing needs of the public. “Our staff is a very highly experienced team, and I’m quite proud to be associated with them,” said Mr. Wright.
“I couldn’t do this job without them.”
For more information, visit the County Assessor’s website, or schedule an appointment at (918) 596-5100.
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