Duties of the Assessor
The Assessor’s Office is responsible for placing an estimate of market value and classifying each property every year as of the assessment date, January 2.
The law specifically requires that assessors view each parcel of real estate to appraise its market value. Property values change continuously with changing economic conditions. In addition to market changes, numerous physical changes affect the value of land and buildings. All factors are considered in estimating the value of property. This requires physical inspection of all property subject to assessment.
The assessor also determines the classification or use of each parcel. For instance, property may be residential homestead (owner-occupied), residential non-homestead, agricultural, or commercial. Each classification is taxed at a different percentage of market value. These percentages are set by the state Legislature.
Each property’s share of taxes is determined according to its value, use, and the property tax levies. The county assessor is responsible for estimating property values and setting classification for tax purposes.
Waseca County Assessor’s Office follows professional assessment and appraisal standards to provide a real estate appraisal practice that is both accurate and uniform in application. All assessment practices are consistent with the standards established by Minnesota Statutes and the Minnesota Department of Revenue. The assessment function is governed by Minnesota State Statutes. The law requires that all real property be valued at market value, which is defined as the usual or most likely selling price as of the assessment date of January 2 each year.
Assessors perform mass appraisals of properties, meaning that we value all properties every year, as compared to a fee appraiser that values properties individually. The Assessor’s Office is charged with setting estimated market values for tax purposes at actual market value. The relationship between sales prices to estimated market value is called the sales ratio. The standard for sales ratio is from 90% to 105%. We make every effort to ensure that each municipality in Waseca County meets this standard as consistently as possible.
Property owners are encouraged to contact the assessor with any questions and concerns about the assessment when they get their valuation notice. In most cases, an interior inspection of the property will be necessary to complete the review of the record.
Higher or lower market values do not automatically equate to higher or lower property taxes. Market value only determines the portion of the total tax the property owner will pay, while the level of taxation is determined by the budgets and resulting levies of the varying taxing authorities, which are part of the property owner’s overall tax bill. Stated simply, tax rates are a product of the levy and the taxable market value of each taxing jurisdiction.