In Lincoln County, Oregon, property owners play a crucial role in supporting essential services like police, fire protection, and education through their annual property tax payments. However, before these tax bills are sent out, there is a well-defined process involving two key county departments: the Assessor’s Office and the Treasurer’s Office. In this article, we will dive into the intricacies of this process, explaining the role of each department and providing valuable information for property owners in Lincoln County.
Assessing Property Values
The linchpin of the property tax process is the assessment of property values. Rob Thomas, the Lincoln County Assessor, explains that property assessments in Oregon are not based on market value but on maximum assessed value (MAV). The MAV for residential properties is currently set at just over 50 percent of the market value. This means that unless the market value drops below 50 percent of its assessed value, property owners will not see a significant impact on their taxes due to a decrease in market value.
The assessment process in Oregon is unique because it no longer assesses property values based on market value. Instead, it relies on the framework established by Measure 50, which was implemented in 1997. Measure 50 set the maximum assessed value by subtracting 10 percent from the property’s 1995 value and placing that figure on the assessment roll in 1997. Since then, the value can increase by no more than three percent per year or the real market value, whichever is lower. Therefore, most property owners can expect to see around a three percent increase in their tax bill each year.
Accessing Property Information
Traditionally, obtaining information about a parcel of property in Lincoln County meant contacting the Assessor’s Office or physically visiting their location. However, advancements in technology have made it easier for property owners to access this information from the comfort of their own homes. The Assessor’s Office has a user-friendly web page that allows property owners to quickly search for their property and view various details associated with it.
To utilize the online search function, users can navigate to the Assessor’s web page and click on the “Quick Search” option located in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. By entering the address or house number of the property, users can access the appraisal card, sales information, value history, and ownership details. Additionally, there is a map available for reference. This convenient online tool eliminates the need for phone calls or physical visits and empowers property owners to stay informed about their property’s assessment.
Appealing Property Valuations
In the event that property owners disagree with the assessed value of their property, an appeal process is in place to address these concerns. The first step in this process is to contact the Board of Property Tax Appeals. Property owners can initiate an appeal as soon as the tax statements are released if they believe that the valuation is incorrect. The Board of Property Tax Appeals consists of appointed citizens overseen by the County Clerk’s Office. This service is free and provides property owners with an avenue to challenge their property’s assessed value through an unbiased and efficient process.
Tax Bill Issuance and Payment Options
Once the assessment process is complete and the annual tax roll is ready, the Treasurer’s Office takes over and sends out the tax bills in late October. Linda Pilsen, the Deputy Treasurer Tax Collector for Lincoln County, explains that her office processes approximately $65 million in tax payments each year. The efficiency of the office is enhanced by computerized files and a cash counting machine, reducing the need for temporary helpers during tax season.
Property owners have several options for making their tax payments. If their mortgage company does not automatically pay the taxes, they can choose to mail in the payment, make the payment in person at the Treasurer’s Office, or pay online. It is worth noting that partial payments are also accepted, allowing property owners to make monthly or gradual payments towards their tax bill. However, if the first third of the payment is not made by the November 15th deadline, interest charges may apply. To find out more about payment schedules, online payment options, or to update address information, property owners can visit the Lincoln County Treasurer’s website.
For property owners who want to gain a better understanding of the tax process, the Assessor’s Office offers supplementary resources. On the Assessor’s website, there is a section that highlights the top 10 county taxpayers, providing insight into where the tax revenue comes from and how it is allocated. Additionally, there is detailed information about the appeals process and the ability to contact the Assessor’s Office directly for any questions or concerns.
Understanding the assessment and taxation process in Lincoln County, Oregon, is essential for property owners to fulfill their financial obligations and support vital community services. By familiarizing themselves with the roles of the Assessor’s Office and the Treasurer’s Office, property owners can navigate the process with confidence and utilize the convenient online tools available to access property information. Additionally, knowing the options for appealing valuations and making tax payments ensures a smooth and informed experience. Lincoln County prioritizes transparency and accessibility in their assessment and taxation procedures, empowering property owners to actively engage in their tax responsibilities.