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Real Property FAQ
The information contained in this publication is current as of the date of publication and is intended as general information only. It does not alter or supersede any ordinances, statutes, or regulations.
The CBJ Assessor’s Office is located at 155 South Seward, Juneau AK, Room 114. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may contact us by phone at (907) 586-0333.
1. Who do I talk to if I have questions about my property?
The CBJ Assessor’s Office is available year-round to answer your questions about both real and personal property. We are a primary source of information regarding ownership, valuation and a description of the property. We maintain a description of approximately 13,000 parcels of real property and 3,200 accounts of personal property.
2. What is “Real Property”?
Real Property (real estate) is land and improvements to land, such as; buildings, structures, and fixtures of any kind thereon.
3. What is “Personal Property”?
Personal Property is any property other than real property. And: Business personal property which is composed of tangible assets, other than real property, held for use in a business. Taxable business personal property includes, but is not limited to; inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, equipment, leasehold improvements, and rental furnishings.
4. What is “Assessed Value”?
Assessed Value is the value subject to taxation. It is the appraised, or market value, of the property less any exemptions. Appraised Value is the estimated price that a typical buyer would pay for a property if sold on the open market as of January 1 of the assessment year. This means that your property should be appraised at 100% of market value.
It is important to recognize that buyer/seller interaction is not precise. What you would pay is not necessarily what I would pay for the same property. Market value falls within a range and the appraised value is an estimate of what a typical buyer would pay, not necessarily the exact price paid.
5. How is property value estimated?
There are three approaches to estimating market value; sales, cost and income approaches. In estimating real property values for all types of properties the assessor keeps track of:
Utilizing this data, current market value may be estimated in three different ways. The assessor may use one or more of these approaches to estimate what your property will sell for on the open market. The approach employed depends on the type of property and quality and quantity of data available for analysis.
The sales approach compares your property to others that have sold. Sales prices must be carefully analyzed to get a true picture. One property may have sold high because the seller included substantial personal property or special financing. Another may have sold low because the seller was in a hurry or needed cash right away. By comparing numerous selling prices of properties similar to yours, adjusting for differences between the sold property and your property (e.g., two versus three bathrooms), the market value for your property is estimated.
A second way to estimate market value is based on how much it would cost to construct a new replacement building, adjust for age and condition; and, finally, adding the land value.
The third way is to evaluate how much income the property (apartment, store, factory, etc.) would produce if it were rented. The operating expenses, insurance, maintenance, and return on investment must be considered.
6. Why do assessed values change from year to year?
If you were to add a garage to your home the market value would increase, however, physical changes are not the only reason for value changes. Changes in supply and demand of properties, employment patterns, interest rates and zoning and other market factors all may affect value.
Another factor that may affect assessed value is the abundance or lack of information available to the assessor to base the estimate on in a given year. The property may have been valued below 100% of market value last year. If newly discovered information indicates that the previous value was inaccurate the new value will be different. The basic question to ask concerning your value is; “Could I sell the property at this price?”
7. When will I receive my assessment notice?
Assessment notices for Real Property are currently mailed near the end of March of the first week in April. They are on a white postcard sized form that includes the:
Assessment notices have important information regarding your rights to appeal and the schedule for tax payments.
8. How do I know what my property is worth?
Most people get a feel for the market in their area from talking to friends, neighbors and real estate professionals. Additionally, newspaper ads and articles, listings, and recent sales provide useful information about market conditions.
Sales of residential one to four family properties are also available at the Assessor’s Office and Municipal appraisers are available to answer questions year round. You may also look at the Property Appraisal website to find information on properties such as assessed values and property descriptions.
9. If my property value has increased will my property taxes go up?
An increase in your property value does not automatically mean that your property tax will change by the same percentage.
10. How are taxes determined?
The Assessor’s Office estimates property value and does not set tax rates or collect taxes. Assessed values determine the distribution of property tax among taxpayers. The budget determines taxes and is established by the financial needs and budgets approved by Municipal government, the Anchorage School District and voter approved debt (bonds).
The tax rate is expressed in mills, that is, one-thousandth of one dollar. The budget (less anticipated revenues from sources other than the property tax) is divided by the "total assessed value" in Juneau to determine the mill rate.
Mill rates are set in June of each year by the Municipal Assembly. Property taxes are determined by multiplying your property’s assessed value by the mill rate.
11. Where do I get information about my taxes?
You can find information about your taxes by contacting the City Treasury Division. The Treasury Division is responsible for billing, collecting and auditing municipal tax revenues. Questions concerning payment of taxes, minimum payments due, or tax refunds should be directed to the Treasury Division. The Treasury phone number is (907) 586-5218.
Tax revenues provide primary funding for city services such as: public safety, education, roads and transportation, health and human services, and cultural and recreational services.
12. May I appeal my property taxes?
No, appeals may only be made against the value of the property. The percent or amount of change from last year, amount of tax, mill rate, and other matters unrelated to current value cannot be considered.
13. I think my value may be incorrect, should I contact the Assessor’s office?
Yes, you should contact the Assessor division to review your valuation any time you have questions regarding your property value. During the first 30 days after assessment notices are mailed we are able to review and adjust values. Property owners can often settle disagreements at this level without the need of filing a formal appeal to the Board of Equalization.
It is always wise to review your property information:
If you have questions about your valuation notice it is best to contact us as soon as possible as we are typically very busy during the first few weeks after notices are mailed. You will find a contact phone number to call on the face of your assessment notice.
See our (link to Appealing your Assessment) for questions relating to who can appeal, deadlines for filing and the appeal process.
14. Are there tax exemptions available?
Yes, there are several types of property tax exemptions available. For more information see our (link to Exemptions) page.
15. How do I change the mailing address on my accounts?
Address changes are processed by the CBJ Assessor Office in City Hall, 155 S. Seward, Room 114. You may also call (907) 586-0333 or fax a request to (907) 586-4520.