Letter from LCIA President Rory Bellina
July 30, 2019
NEW ORLEANS, LA – The Lakeview Civic Improvement Association would like to provide its members and the residents of Lakeview some information regarding the Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office 2020 Tax Assessments.
What has happened?
The Louisiana Constitution requires Parish Assessor’s to review the value of all properties in a parish at least once every four years. The Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office has completed this and recently opened its tax rolls for the 2020 year. Across the vast majority of Orleans Parish, owners property tax assessments have increased. In District A, most neighborhoods are seeing either a 25-50% or a 50-75% increase in their assessments.
How are property taxes determined?
The Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office employs a Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system. According to the Assessor’s Office, “the key ingredient in a CAMA system is data: gathering, analyzing and reporting, and integrating it into a functional formula that helps keep property valuations current and accurate.” The Assessor's Office then reviews properties to determine their valuation. Detailed and accurate inspection data, along with land sales, land uses and imaging, and maps, are entered into the CAMA system to create neighborhoods. An assessment neighborhood shows uniformity for similar property characteristics rather than exclusively geographic boundaries. A Geographic Information System, or GIS, enhances the property assessment functions of CAMA. GIS integrates data and pictometry to capture, manage, analyze and display all property information in Orleans Parish in a geographically-referenced format.
By law, the assessor’s office is required to place a fair value on all properties based upon one of three valuation methods: cost, market or income approaches, as well as use a January 1, 2019 value date for 2020 assessments. Fair value is not the purchase price of your home.
How do I check my assessment and what should I be reviewing?
All residents are encouraged to check their assessments online as soon as possible to determine the correctness of their assessment. To check your assessment for the 2020 year, go to nolaassessor.com and click “SEARCH RECORDS.” Click “Yes, I accept the above statement.” and then you can search by your name, tax bill number, address, or map.
Once you obtain your assessment information, it is suggested that you verify that your assessment has (1) the correct Land and Building square footage (2) your Homestead Exemption, if applicable and (3) your Assessment Freeze, if applicable. Please note that Building square footage should include “living square footage” only and it is not uncommon for the Assessor’s Office to have an incorrect living square footage. If you Land or Building square footage is incorrect, provide copies of 3rd party documents (e.g. an old appraisal) with the correct square footage to Assessor’s Office. If you are eligible for Homestead Exemption and it is not included on your assessment, you should file the applicable paperwork to obtain the Homestead Exemption. If you are eligible for Assessment Freeze, please verify that your assessments have not increased.
In addition to the above items, there are two other components to determine the correctness of your assessment: 1) Trueness of Value - is the assessed value reasonably reflective of the property's market value; and 2) Uniformity of Value - is the property's assessed value in line with other like properties in the same area.
Trueness of Value is generally verified by a recent appraisal or broker price opinion. To determine if your Land and Building Values are consistent with your neighbors (Uniformity of Value), click “Show Parcel Map” and click neighboring properties to see if others have comparable Land and Building Values per square foot. The assessed price per square foot of land and buildings should be reasonable comparable to your neighbors on your street or immediate block or two, with exceptions. Land Values are generally being assessed at either $20 or $25 per square foot, depending on the area of Lakeview, and Building Values range from $100 to $160. There will be some properties with per square foot assessed values higher and lower than these ranges.
If the Trueness of Value or Uniformity of Value are incorrect, the assessment is incorrect.
How can I appeal my tax assessment?
If you disagree with your tax assessment, you are allowed to personally appeal to the Assessor’s Office for review during the open rolls period, which ends August 19, 2019. The first step is to file an Informal Appeal, which can be done at the following locations:
When you visit a location, be sure to bring documentation to support what you think the assessed value of your property should be. Examples include: a recent appraisal, builder's contract, insurance documents, proof of valuations near/on your block, and/or pictures. All pictures should be recent, printed, and dated.
If you wish to skip the Informal Appeal process, you may file a Formal Appeal online by visiting nolaassessor.com and clicking “E-FILE”. You may also file a Formal Appeal in person at City Hall, 1300 Perdido St., New Orleans, LA 70112. The deadline to file a Formal Appeal is August 22, 2019 at 4 p.m.
You can also submit a Formal Appeal to the Assessor’s Office, 4th floor, City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street, New Orleans, LA 70112. This form for a written appeal can be found at nolaassessor.com and clicking “Forms.” The deadline to a written Formal Appeal is August 22, 2019 at 4 p.m.
Depending upon your age, you may also wish to look into requesting an Age Freeze on your property tax assessment. To qualify for an age freeze, you must be at least 65 years old by August 1, 2019 to apply for the freeze this year. The maximum qualifying income for an age freeze this year is $77,030.36. To apply for an Age Freeze, please contact the Assessor’s Office at (504) 658-1300.
When will these tax increases go into effect?
Under the Louisiana Constitution, when the assessed value increases more than 50%, that increase is phased in over 4 years. Each year, your property tax bill will increase by ¼ of amount of the increase in the property’s assessed value. The phase-in is found in Article 7, Section 18 of the Louisiana Constitution.
The State Legislature has passed another proposed constitutional amendment to help low to moderate income homeowners with raising property tax assessments. This amendment will be placed on an upcoming statewide ballot in either October or November. You can read the proposed constitutional amendment at http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/BillInfo.aspx?s=19RS&b=SB79&sbi=y.
Otherwise, these increased assessments will go into effect January 1, 2020.
We hope this information has been informative and helpful in disputing your assessments.
Rory V. Bellina
President, Lakeview Civic Improvement Association