Property Assessment / Tax Info

Property taxes provide Oregon’s property tax system represents one of the most important sources of revenue for local governments. In Oregon, the amount of property tax you pay depends on the cost of state and local government, including the operating costs of schools, roads/streets, parks, libraries, hospitals, city and county government, and your local taxing districts such as fire districts, water and sewer districts, parks and recreation, ports, etc.

Depending on where you live, the specific taxes levied in your area, and local real estate values, it's possible that your taxes can increase, even if the appraised value of your home decreases. This can occur in part because your property tax is determined by the levies that you and your neighbors approve for such services as schools, parks, water districts, fire protection and road districts among others. If these levies stay the same or increase from the year before, your property taxes may increase. Similarly, if other valuations decrease more than yours, your taxes may also increase. The state legislature sets statutory levy limits. In addition, voters approve excess levies to fund local projects or services, such as additional school levies, fire protection, sewage and wastewater treatment.

Each year, the Assessor’s office develops a new assessment and tax roll. “Understanding the Valuation Process” and the following assessment tabs will give additional insight to this process.

 


  Cartography ~ Property Divisions and Consolidations:

Lot line adjustments, divisions and consolidations involve processing property transactions that result in changes in existing property boundaries and creation of new land parcels. Existing property tax accounts are revalued, Assessor's maps are updated and new accounts established to reflect these changes. Relevant transactions also include lands deeded from private parties for public roads, vacations of public right of ways or new subdivision plats and partition plats. Property owners may also request that adjoining parcels under common ownership be consolidated into one entity provided certain requirements are met.

 
  Cartography ~ Property Divisions and Consolidations:

Annexation, Formation, Withdrawal, Transfer, Merge, and a Dissolution of a Taxing District all result in changes to the boundary.  Tax accounts, maps, and new tax codes are created or deleted to reflect the change.  The change to a district would result in a change to the tax code area which is a specific area of land that is a unique combination of taxing districts yielding a give composite tax rate.  When the code area changes it could change the amount of tax that you pay.  Tax code areas are designated on the assessor’s cadastral maps by code lines and code numbers.


  Commercial / Industrial:

When appraising commercial real estate three primary approaches are used to value commercial property:

  • The income approach, in which either a single year of income, or multiple years of income plus a reversionary interest, are capitalized;
  • The cost approach, which entails determining the reproduction or replacement cost, subtracting any accrued depreciation, and adding estimated land value plus entrepreneurial profit;
  • The sales comparison approach, in which the subject property is compared with similar properties that have sold recently, applying appropriate units of comparison, and making adjustments to the sales prices of the comparable properties based on the elements of comparison.

These values are then reconciled to arrive at a final value conclusion. Under the cost approach the value of the land is estimated first. To that the replacement cost of the buildings or improvements are added. Accrued depreciation is subtracted and the result is added to the land value to represent the value of the entire property. Under the market approach, sales of similar properties are analyzed to derive units of comparison such as price paid per square foot, or price per rental unit, or price per $1,000 of gross income. These are then applied to the subject property to arrive at an indicated value. The third approach to value is the income approach. This approach to value is based on the concept that the value of income producing property, is directly related to the level of income which they can be expected to generate over their economic life. Under this approach the economic rent for the subject property is estimated. Expenses are then deducted to derive an annual net income figure. Net operating income is converted to a value estimate by dividing the net income by a capitalization rate. This rate is derived by comparing net income by sales prices of comparable properties. This rate is then applied to the net income of the subject property to yield a value estimate. Seldom do three approaches generate the same value. The final step is to reconcile the values developed under the three approaches. The relative merit of each value indication is considered and the values correlated to arrive at a final value estimate.

The Assessor's office is responsible for valuation of all industrial properties with a real market value less than $1 million. Douglas County has approximately 4,750+ of commercial and industrial accounts. The Oregon Department of Revenue (ODOR) is responsible for industrial properties over $1 million.

Forms, and Information Circulars:

Application for Construction in Process Enterprise Zone Exemption
2013 Industrial Property Return
Industrial Property Return Extension Request
Oregon Enterprise Zone Exemption Claim
Oregon Enterprise Zone Property Schedule


  Manufactured Structures:

Effective May 1, 2005, responsibility for maintaining ownership and sites information for manufactured structures transferred from the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to the Building Codes Division (BCD).  Homeowners and other interested parties should no longer contact the DMV if buying, moving, or otherwise changing the status of a manufactured home or other manufactured structure. Instead, most transactions will now take place at the Assessor’s office, which will be acting on behalf of the division.

Manufactured structures are also known as manufactured dwellings, manufacture homes, mobile homes, or park model homes.  These structures are typically a minimum of 8-1/2 feet wide and can be moved to a new location.
It can be used for a residence or for business, commercial, or office purposes. The law does not consider a travel trailer, special-use trailer, or mobile modular unit a manufactured structure.

If you own a manufacture structure in Oregon, you must pay property tax on it. Manufactured structures are assessed each year on January 1st.  If you sell or trade in the structure, you’re responsible for paying the taxes until you notify the Assessor’s office to transfer the ownership.

Payment of any outstanding tax is required prior to processing changes to the home.

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  Business Personal Property:

Oregon law requires all personal property be valued at 100 percent of its real market value unless exempt by statutes. Personal property is taxable in the county where it is located and has more or less come to rest as of the assessment date January 1 at 1 a.m. ORS 307.020 defines both personal and intangible personal property. Intangible personal property is not taxable. Inventories are items of tangible personal property, which are held for sale in the ordinary course of business and are exempt from taxation. Household goods, furniture, clothing, tools, and equipment exclusively for personal use in your home are also exempt from taxation.

Each individual, partnership, firm, or corporation that has taxable personal property must file a return by March 1 unless they have requested and been granted an extension. The request must be in writing and submitted prior to March 1. The return filed with the appropriate authority must contain a full listing of all assets, date of acquisition, cost, and a statement of real market value. This listing must include items that have fully been depreciated, in storage, or expensed. It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to obtain a copy of the return and make the filing. If the assessed value of your taxable property is less than $15,500, the assessor may cancel the tax assessment for that year. You must file a return each year regardless and make your declaration.

All returns that are filed late receive a penalty. The penalty is a percentage of the taxes and is 5%, 25%, or 50% depending on how late the return is filed.

The information on the return is a confidential record in the office in which it is filed. The return assists the assessor in determining the value of the property. After values for all properties in the county are established tax amounts are calculated. Taxpayers receive a tax statement after October 25 showing the value of the personal property and the amount of tax due.

Primary ORS and OAR: 307.020 definition; 307.190 tangible personal property; 308.105 situs; 308.205 real market value; 308.250 assessment date; 308.290 return and extension; 308.296 penalty; 311.219 omitted property; 311.405 lien date; 801.285 fixed load vehicles.

Manual, Forms, and Information Circulars:


  Residential:

Residential and rural properties are appraised under a mass appraisal system that conforms to State Laws and Administrative Rules. Values based on market sales are established for each property, as well as reduced Measure 50 (M50) value. That value called Maximum Assessed Value (MAV) is the 1995-96 tax year value less 10%. That value may not increase more than 3% each year. Residential and rural properties are appraised using a market related cost approach. Sales of properties within a given market area, or an area of similar properties, are compiled and analyzed to develop the data used to appraise all similar properties within that given area.

Once these values are established, they are monitored yearly using sales that occur within these areas by comparing those sales prices to their RMV. If the average property sale price is higher than the RMV, the properties in that area are adjusted to reflect the change in the market.

Although property owner(s) do not have to let appraisers on their property or allow an interior inspection, without a physical appraisal, the best information available is used by the appraisers and the resulting RMV may not be a true reflection of your property.  If the property value is appealed, court decisions have ruled against property owners for denying access or not providing requested data/information.

In regards to "NO TRESPASS" signs, the Oregon Department of Justice stated in March 1987, "The appraiser is privileged to enter upon the property so long as the performance of the official duties are exercised in a reasonable manner, subject to refusal to permit entry by the owner." Although there is no specific statutory language which grants the assessor the right to enter private property for assessment purposes, the privilege to enter can be inferred from the Assessor’s statutory authority. ORS 308.210 provides that the assessor shall proceed each year to assess the value of all taxable property within the county.

Douglas County has approximately 44,500 residential accounts.

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  Damaged or Destroyed Property:

In Oregon, property owners are taxed on the assessed value of their property as of the assessment date, January 1. After the assessment date, property that has experienced a casualty loss due to either an "Act of God" or a fire, may be eligible to receive a reduction in their tax. The reduction is referred to as a "proration of tax" and is computed by the County Tax Collector. The information in this circular will provide a general explanation of the occurrences that qualify for a proration of tax, where you may obtain an application for proration and where you file it, the deadlines for filing the application, a description of what adjustments are made to a qualifying account, and finally, how you would appeal a decision if you disagree with the disposition of your application.

If the loss in taxable assessed value generates a proration of under $10.00, and the tax has been paid, ORS 311.806 (5) says that a refund "shall not be required."

The appropriate amount of taxes will be canceled once the application has been processed. However, no refund will be issued unless there is an overpayment in the final taxes owed.

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  Douglas Fire Patrol Charges:

The Oregon Department of Forestry is authorized by Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 477 to levy a special assessment on lands within designated forest protection districts. Property may be included within such districts if in the judgment of the State Forester vegetation is present that may promote the ignition or spread of wildfire. The stated purpose of the forest protection district is the preservation and conservation of forest lands through the prevention and suppression of fire.

Some property owners pay their forest protection assessments directly to the districts. These owners are commonly referred to as association members. All other owners pay their assessments to the Assessor’s office who then distributes the money to the districts. Forest protection fees are referred to on the assessor’s tax statements as Douglas Fire Patrol or Coos Fire Patrol or W Lane Fire Patrol.

Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 478 addresses the formation of Rural Fire Districts. Land parcels within forest protection districts are not subject to rural fire district charges unless they include structures subject to damage by fire and not exceeding 5.00 acres of the total size.

    THERE ARE THREE TYPES OF FIRE PROTECTION CHARGES
  1. Your Local Fire District
  2. Regular Fire Patrol District Principle
  3. Fire Patrol Emergency Surcharge
    LOCAL FIRE DISTRICTS
  1. The charge is an advalorem tax based on assessed value and appears as a line item under the General Government section on the tax statement.
  2. The charge is calculated by the permanent rate established by Measure 50.
  3. May also include bonded debt or local option levy approved by voters.
    FIRE PATROL REGULAR DISTRICT PRINCIPLE (DFPA)
  1. Is a special assessment based on a per acre charge or a minimum of $18.75, whichever is greater.
  2. Applies to parcels that are within the Eastern Lane or Western Lane Forest Protection Districts.
    FIRE PATROL EMERGENCY SURCHARGE (ODF)
  1. A $47.50 charge that applies to improved parcels within The Eastern Lane or Western Lane Forest Protection Districts.
  2. A parcel is improved if it has structures subject to damage by fire.

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  M50 / RMV / MAV:

Property values decline, but property taxes increase. Why?
Throughout Douglas County, the state of Oregon and across America, real property values have declined and sales have slowed considerably in recent years. Many homes are worth less than they were in the mid 2000’s.

A natural question is: "Does my home’s decline in value mean my property taxes will decrease?"
The short answer is "Probably not." In the vast majority of cases in Oregon and Douglas County, property taxes will increase in 2012 regardless of whether the price a particular home might sell for is up, down or unchanged because Oregon’s Constitution limits property tax growth, but also restricts tax decreases. This is due to Measure 50.

Oregon’s property tax system changed with voters’ passing 2 property tax measures:  Measure 5 in 1990 and Measure 50 in 1997.

    • Measure 5 limited the rate assessed for education to $5.00 while the rate for all general government service can not exceed $10.00 per $1000 assessed value.
    • Measure 50 redefined each property’s assessed value as 90% of the 1995-96 property assessed value. Also each tax district was limited to a permanent tax rate.

      Currently, the amount of property taxes you pay is based on two things:

      1. The assessed value of the property; and
      2. The amount of taxes that each taxing district is authorized to raise.

       

      Each year, Assessor’s office develops a new assessment and tax roll. Property is taxed on its assessed value (AV). A property’s assessed value is the lower of its RMV or maximum assessed value (MAV). Each year, the Assessor’s office determines the RMV and calculates its MAV. Real market value and maximum assessed value are defined below.

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  Other Exemptions:

Exemptions are defined as property that has been removed from the assessment roll, thus excluded from taxation. There are approximately 60 different exemptions and/or special assessments those qualifying property owners and lessees can apply for.

Oregon laws provide a property tax exemption for property owned or being purchased by certain qualifying organizations. The most common qualifying entities are: religious, fraternal, literary, benevolent, or charitable organizations and scientific institutions.

Property for which an exemption is requested must be actively occupied and used by the organization in a way that furthers its stated purpose. The property must also be reasonably necessary. Any portion of the property that does not meet these criteria is subject to assessment and taxation the same as all other taxable property.

Note: although exempted from property taxes, qualifying exempt organizations are not exempted from special assessments; an example is Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) charges.

Property tax exemption is not automatic. An application must be filed with the Assessor’s office between January 1 and April 1 of the assessment year for which the exemption is requested. If the property is acquired after March 1 and before July 1, the application must be filed within 30 days of acquisition or change of use. If the application is not filed on time, it may still be filed no later than December 31 if a late filing fee accompanies the application.

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  Appraisal Cycle:

Assessors attempt to revalue property either on a regular basis or when data indicates reappraisal is necessary. The law no longer requires all property to be reappraised every six years.

To do this, the assessor divides the county into “appraisal areas,” “neighborhoods,” “value areas,” or “hot spots.” Each year the assessor’s appraisal staff estimates the real market value (RMV) for properties within identified reappraisal areas. Properties that are not included in the reappraisal area are valued based on market trends identified in the “Assessor’s Certified Ratio Study.”

The Assessment Date
Oregon law requires all property to be valued “as of the assessment date for the tax year.” The definition of assessment date for most property is “January 1 at 1:00 a.m. of the assessment year.” The tax year is based on the fiscal year, July 1 through June 30. ORS 308.210

 

Douglas County Assessor's Office
Courthouse Room 206
Roseburg, Oregon  97470
541-440-4222