Angie SchneidermanMost people don’t think about their real estate tax liabilities until the County Treasurer issues a bill for taxes due.  By then, taxpayers have already missed out on the opportunity to address how much is owed as that chance occurs when the County sends out notices of assessment.  Assessment notices detail the value of your property as determined by the Director of Equalization.

The amount of tax you pay on real estate is based on a relatively simple formula:

Assessed Value     X     Tax Levy %  =  Amount of Tax Due

The only aspect of this formula a taxpayer can control is to ensure that the assessed value of their real estate is correct.  In South Dakota, taxpayers are notified of the assessed value of their by property through notices sent by the County Director of Equalization.  Those notices must be mailed to property owners by March 1st.  Property owners then have the right to ensure that their property is being assessed for no more than its market value by appealing their assessments to the local board of equalization.  Those appeals must be filed by March 17, 2016.

How can you tell if your property is accurately assessed?  There are various methods that can be used to value property.   These include:

  1.  A cost approach:  calculating the cost to replace the structures on the property, less depreciation, plus the value of the land.
  2.  A market value approach: valuing the property based on recent sales of other, similar property.
  3. An income approach: determining if the property is an income generating property (such as rental property) and  using  that income to project a value for the property.

If you receive an assessment on property you own that you believe is excessive, it is critical to meet the deadline for appealing assessed value.  Likewise, successfully appealing property assessments requires strategic presentation of evidence supporting an accurate property value.  The firm of Moore, Heffernan, Moeller, Johnson & Meis, LLP represents clients in property assessment valuation cases for all types of property including commercial, industrial, rental, and residential property.