The Notices of Value that the Santa Fe County Assessor’s Office will mail out Monday, which tell residential property owners how much their property is valued for tax purposes, will include new information, thanks to a law that takes effect for the first time this year.
The law, which was created during the 2012 legislative session, requires assessors to include property valuation information such as value, exemptions, tax rate and amount of tax for the previous year as well as the current year. In the past, the form only provided information for the current year.
Assistant County Assessor Gary Perez said Wednesday that the new form will allow property owners to compare current rates and values with past assessments, and calculate percentage of change, without having to find last year’s notice or call the assessor’s office for the information.
The one thing that could be confusing about the new forms, Perez said, is the requirement that they list “estimated” tax rates and tax amounts. Because those figures are unknown when the Notices of Value of printed, Perez said, the county will simply carry over the same rates and estimated tax amounts from the previous year, to give people an idea what the taxes might be. But, he said, including that information may make people think that the notices are tax bills that they can come in and pay now before the actual tax notices are sent out by the County Treasurer in November.
Rep. Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas, who sponsored the bill the created the new law, said his intention was to give people more information so they could easily see changes in time to protest their values.
Notices are sent out April 1 and property owners have one month, until May 1, to protest values or file for adjustments or exemptions.
Having the historical value and tax information may be especially helpful to property owners this time next year when County Assessor Domingo Martinez’s yearslong campaign to clean up Santa Fe’s residential tax rolls should be complete. That could result in a year in which people see a change in their values.
When Martinez first took office in 2007, he said he found thousands of properties that were not assessed at current and correct values. County staff have worked on the problem over the past five years and have re-examined about 29,000 parcels. This year, the county brought in an outside firm to help complete the process, and the firm is about 78 percent done valuing the remaining 35,000 or so residential properties in the county, Perez said.
Because all that information isn’t in the computer system yet, Perez said, most of this year’s notices of value don’t reflect changes that may be prompted by the new data collected by people in the field sketching and measuring homes.
Those changes will be reflected on next year’s notices, Perez said. But he doesn’t expect an increase in protests of value, because an examination of about 5,000 parcels for which the process has been completed revealed that only 3 percent of them increased in value, while 35 percent of them went down in value and 65 percent remained the same.
Protests have increased during Martinez’s administration, jumping from about 867 protests in 2007, the year he took office, to 3,600 in 2012.
Contact Phaedra Haywood at 986-3068 or firstname.lastname@example.org.