Understanding the Property Tax System

Checkmark Estimated market value?
The estimated market value of a property is the amount the assessor estimates a buyer would pay for a property if it were offered for sale. Each year the assessor reviews the market valuation of your property to determine if changes in the real estate market or improvements to properties require a change in the estimated market value.

Checkmark Classification and class rates
All Property is classified by the assessor according to its use. Each class of property (home, apartment, cabin, farm, business) may be taxed at a different percentage of its value. This percentage, or class rate, is determined by the state legislature. Like market value, the class rate of your property plays a significant role in how much property tax you pay.

Checkmark Valuation Price
Each spring, the assessor will mail you a "Valuation of Real Property Notice" informing you of the value and classification of your property. If you believe the classification or the estimated market value of your property is incorrect, you have several appeal options.

The first step is to do some research. Begin by visiting the assessor's office.

  • Verify information about your property, such as its dimensions, age and condition of its structures.
  • Review records to determine the market value of similar property in your neighborhood.
  • Review sales data to find out what similar property in your area is selling for.
  • Check real estate ads in your newspaper to get an idea of the asking price of local properties.

Ask the assessor to explain the criteria used for assessing your property. You may also review the assessments of other property used in the same manner as yours.

Checkmark Appealing your assessment
You have the right to appeal your market value estimate and/or property classification if you feel your property is:

  • Classified improperly
  • Valued at an amount higher than you could sell your property for
  • Valued at a level different from similar properties in your area

First, meet with the assessor to discuss changing your assessment. If you and the assessor are unable to agree on your valuation or classification,more formal methods of appeal are available.

You can appeal to your local and county Boards of Appeal and Equalization or attend the open book meeting if your local taxing district no longer has a local Board of Appeal and Equalization. You can take your appeal directly to the Minnesota Tax Court. Or you can choose both options, in which case begin with the local board of appeal and equalization.

Checkmark Local Board of Appeal and Equalization
If you choose to appeal to your local boards, first meet with your City or Town Board of Appeal and Equalization. These are usually the same people as your city or town council. The board meets on a specified day in April or May. The exact date is listed on your Valuation of Real Property Notice. We strongly recommend that you call the Becker County Assessor's Office at (218) 846-7300 to schedule your appearance. You may make your appeal in person, by letter, or have someone else appear for you. The assessor will be present to answer questions. You must present your case to the city or town board before going to the County Board of Appeal and Equalization.

Checkmark County Board of Appeal and Equalization
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the city or town board, you may appeal to the County Board of Appeal and Equalization. You must present your case to the city or town board before going to the County Board of Appeal and Equalization. This board meets in June. The exact date is listed on your Valuation of Real Property Notice. The members are usually the county board of commissioners. You must call the Becker County Assessor at (218) 846-7300 to schedule your appearance before the board. You may make your appeal in person, by letter, or have someone else appear for you. The assessor will be present to answer questions.

If you are not satisfied with the decision of the County Board of Appeal and Equalization, you may appeal to the Minnesota Tax Court.

CheckmarkMinnesota Tax Court
You have until April 30 of the year the tax becomes payable to appeal your assessment to the Minnesota Tax Court. In other words, you must appeal your 2007 valuation and classification on or before April 30, 2008.

The Tax Court has two divisions, Small Claims Division and Regular Division. The small claims division only hears appeals involving one of the following situations:

  • The assessor's estimated market value of your property is less than $300,000.
  • Your entire parcel is classified as a residential homestead (1a or 1b) and the parcel contains no more than one dwelling unit.
  • Your entire property is classified as an agricultural homestead (1b or 2a).
  • Appeals involving the denial of a current year application for homestead classification of your property.

The proceedings of the small claims division are less formal and many people represent themselves. Decisions made by the small claims division are final and cannot be appealed further.

The regular division will hear all appeals-including those within the jurisdiction of the small claims division. Divisions made here can be appealed to a higher court. Most people who appeal to the regular division hire an attorney because the hearing is conducted according to the Minnesota rules of civil procedure.

You may obtain complete information on Tax Court appeals by writing or calling the court administrator in your county or by contacting:
 

Minnesota Tax Court
Minnesota Judicial Center
Suite 245
25 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55115
(651) 296-2806
http://www.taxcourt.state.mn.us

 
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