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REAL PROPERTY TAX
Property (ad valorem) taxes are taxed on real and/or business personal property. Real property includes land and improvements (An improvement is anything that adds value to real property such as a house, manufactured home, swimming pool, chicken house, barn etc). Business personal property refers to items which are used in any business and are movable or not permanently fixed to the land.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU BUY REAL PROPERTY
Responsibility for assessing property (telling the Tax Assessor you have bought property and what it is used for) lies with the owner to see that all the necessary steps have been completed. As a minimum the following steps should be done:
- Record your deed in Probate Court.
- Assess the property in Tax Assessor's Office.
- Claim any exemption due you. Make sure all of this is done not later than December 31 for all property purchased by October 1. Please report promptly all address changes.
- Make sure the taxes are current & paid in the Tax Collector's office on the purchased property.
The Tax Assessor is responsible for determining property value, which must, by law, be set according to "fair and reasonable market value." Your property is probably not for sale but the county appraiser must set the value of the property as if it were "sold" in an "arms length" transaction between a "willing buyer and a willing seller," neither being under any pressure to buy or sell. If you feel your property value is incorrect you may file a written protest with the Chilton County Board of Equalization. Upon your appeal, if time permits, you will be contacted by the county appraiser to review your valuation. If, after this review, you are still not satisfied with your valuation, a hearing will be set for you to formally meet with the Board of Equalization to present information you feel justifies a change in value. Following this hearing you will be notified of the decision of the Board of Equalization. You may appeal to Circuit Court within 30 days of their decision. In order to preserve your right to carry the appeal process to Circuit Court, taxes must be paid by December 31, or a bond filed in Circuit Court in double the amount of taxes due.
|Class I - Property Owned by Utilities|
|Class II - All Other Property|
|Class III - |
Agricultural Prop. & Owner Occupied Residential Property
|Class IV - Private Passenger Vehicles|
You multiply the appraised value of property by the proper classification to determine the assessed value. Taxes are based on assessed value less any qualifying exemptions.
ASSESSMENT OF PROPERTY
Each taxpayer is required by Alabama Law (Code 40-7-1) to provide a complete list of all their owned property. The person acquiring property is responsible for reporting to the Tax Assessor a complete legal description of the property and should at the time claim any exemptions for which he or she is eligible. The Tax Assessor should be furnished a correct mailing address for all properties. The property owner must report any changes in ownership to the Assessor.
All assessments as of October 1 of each year are due and payable the following October 1. Real and personal property taxes are paid in arrears. Taxes on motor vehicles are paid forward and are paid throughout the year based upon the first letter of your last name.
A Homestead Exemption is a tax break a property owner may be entitled to if he or she owns a single-family residence and occupies it as their primary residence on the first day of the tax year(Oct. 1) for which they are applying. A Homestead must be requested at the Assessr's office, it is not automatic. The following are the four types of Homestead Exemptions:
- Regular Homestead is available to all citizens of Alabama who own and occupy a single-family residence; including manufactured homes, as their primary residence and use this property for no other purposes. The amount of the exemption is $4,000.00 in assessed value for state taxes and $2,000.00 in assessed value for county taxes.
- Homestead Exemption 2 (ACT 91)is for person over age 65 whose adjusted gross income is less than $12,000.00 on their last State Tax Return. This exemption is for all State taxes and County taxes up to $5,000.00 in assessed value. Those who are permanently blind are entitled to this exemption also.
- Homestead Exemption 3 (ACT 48)is an exemption from all property taxes for persons over age 65, who have a taxable income of $7500.00 or less on their last Federal Income Tax Return. Also, persons who are permanently and totally disabled, regardless of income, are entitled to this exemption. To prove disability, you must furnish a statement from two different sources. (Physicians letters, Veterans Administration and Social Security are all acceptable.)
- Homestead Exemption 4 (ACT 91-B)is for persons over 65, regardless of income. This exemption is for the total assessed value of state tax and up to $2,000.00 of assessed value of county.
Exemptions should be applied for before December 31 of each year based upon status (owner occupied, age 65 or totally and permanently disabled) of property and owner on October 1. Once you receive an exemption for disability or age you must claim this exemption each year. A card will be mailed to you to make this claim; however it is your responsibility to make sure the claim is done each year. The exemption has to be removed if the claim is not made each year.
The amount of taxes paid is determined by multiplying the appropriate millage rate by the assessed value less the proper exemptions. The governing bodies of the state, county, cities and other taxing agencies set millage rates. A mill is one-tenth of one cent (.001). When all of the taxing authorities' millage requests are added together, you can calculate a total tax bill.
For example, an owner occupied residence valued at $100,000.00 would have an assessed value of 10% ($10,000.00). Multiply the assessed value ($10,000.00) by the appropriate millage rate (30 mills) to determine taxes owed ($10,000.00 X .030 = $300.00). This is before any exemptions have been applied.
BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX
All persons, corporations, partnerships, etc. owning business personal property, aircraft, commercial mobile or portable units are subject to ad valorem tax. The property must be listed and assessed in the Tax Assessor's Office after October I, but no later than December 31 each year. Failure to make an assessment by the 3rd Monday in January will result in a 10% penalty and fees being added to the tax bill. All business personal property is appraised by the Tax Assessor for taxes, based on the cost new and allowance for depreciation due to age.
The Alabama Manufactured Home Act (91-694), signed into law July 18, 1991, changed the way manufactured homes are treated for tax and revenue purposes in Alabama. Under the Act those manufactured homes located on the owner's property and not held for rent or lease will be assessed on the real property tax rolls in the Tax Assessor's Office. All others must be registered in the Tax Collector's office.. Proof of ownership, along with a description that includes size, ID number, year made and model of the manufactured home should be brought to theTax Assessor's office to make an assessment. Then, the Tax Collector registers the home. The owner will receive a decal to display on the right front corner as proof that the taxes are paid. A homestead exemption may be claimed if you own the manufactured home, the property and live there as your principle residence as of October I. Proof of title (if 1990 of later model) and that sales tax has been paid must be provided at time of assessment/registration. All manufactured homes must be registered or assessed within 30 calendar days of purchase. Renewal of manufactured home registrations is October/November each year. There is a $10.00 penalty for late registration. Persons over 65 or permanently and totally disabled should request exemption information prior to registration/renewal.
Owners of 5 acres or more of farmland, pastureland or timberland that is producing agricultural products, livestock or wood products may apply for current use exemption. This exemption allows for property to be assessed at less than market value when used only for the purposes specified. Any owner of eligible property must make a formal application to the Tax Assessor's Office if he or she wishes to claim current use. The current use applications may be obtained from the Tax Assessor's Office at any time of the year, but under the law they must be filed with the Tax Assessor's Office no later than December 31, for it to apply in the following tax year. After current use has been granted, the owner who made application for current use does not have to re-apply for subsequent years. However, if the property ownership is transferred or the name has been changed by deed or will, the new owner will have to file an application for current use or his or her taxes will be based on fair market value rather than current use values.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ADD OR REMOVE IMPROVEMENTS
Improvements are defined as "anything that adds value to land"( house, manufactured home, swimming pool garage, chicken house, barn, etc.).
The law requires that owners, or their agent, must come to the Assessor's ofice no later than December 31 to sign a new assessment officially reporting any improvements made to or any removal of structures or features from their property, on or before October I of that year. Examples of improvements that are assessable would include new structures or additions, swimming pools, extensive repairs, remodeling, or renovations; adding a fireplace, extra bath, patio, deck, carport, garage, etc. However such things as re-roofing, minor repairs and painting, (normal maintenance type items), would not require a reassessment.
TIMETABLE FOR COLLECTING TAXES
Please Note: Property taxes will not be accepted before October 1st of any tax year.
Taxes are collected on the following schedule for the year that ended on September 30:
October 1 - Taxes Due
January 1 - Taxes Delinquent
February - Citation - fee added
March - Advertised Sale
April - Tax Sale
METHOD OF PAYMENT
Taxes are due every year the first of October and are delinquent after the 31st of December.
Payment may be made as follows:
(a) You may come to the Tax Collector's Office at 500 2nd Avenue North, Clanton, Alabama and make payment in person by cash, check, or money order. No personal checks are accepted after January of each year.
(b) You may pay by mail with check or money order to:
Chilton County Revenue Commissioner
P.O. Box 1760
Clanton Alabama 35046
(c) You may pay online and a convenience fee will be applied. The online payment feature allows you to pay using your Paypal Account, Credit Card, Debit Card, or E-check. An E-check payment through Paypal is .007% up to a maximum of $5.00.