Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is property tax assessed?

    Each property's tax burden is determined according to its value, classification, and the local property tax levies. Assessors are responsible for estimating property values and determining classifications for tax purposes.

  • What is the property tax?

    This tax is a government cost charged to a property owner based upon the property's taxable estimated market value and classification. Counties, townships, cities, school districts, and a few miscellaneous taxing authorities levy taxes on real estate and some personal property to help pay for local services, including road and bridge maintenance, community services, police and fire protection, libraries, parks and education. The state also levies a general tax on commercial/industrial and seasonal recreational residential properties.

  • How is the property tax calculated?

    Market values, budgets, property classification rates, and classification credits determine the property tax. The first step in calculating a tax is to multiply a property's taxable market value (the value established after the assessor's estimated market value has been adjusted by any applicable tax provision that provide limitations or reductions) by its classification rate to obtain its tax capacity value. The second step is to establish a tax by multiplying the property's tax capacity value by an overall tax rate. The overall rate is a multiplier, resulting from the division of each district's total levy (the total revenue to be collected through the property tax) by the district's tax capacity value. The third step is to subtract any property tax credits from the preceding tax calculation to determine the net payable tax. Homestead and certain agricultural properties are examples of two property types that have their tax bill reduced by credits.

    1. Taxable market value x property classification rate = tax capacity value
    2. Tax capacity value x overall tax rate (taxable levy/net tax capacity value) = property tax or property tax before credits
    3. Property tax before credits - tax credits = property tax
  • What does the Assessor do?

    The Assessor estimates market values and classifies properties based on current use or the most likely use of the property. An example of the different classifications are homestead, commercial, seasonal recreational residential, and timber. The assessor's office also administers a number of property tax programs such as "Green Acres", senior citizens property tax deferral, and special agricultural homestead programs.

    Estimating Market Values
    The law requires that assessors view each parcel of real estate to appraise its market value based on current market conditions. In addition to current market, numerous physical changes affect the value of land and buildings. All factors are considered when estimating the value of property. This requires physical inspection of all property subject to assessment.

    Classification of Property
    The Assessor determines the classification of each property based on the current use of each parcel. Some of the property are residential homestead, residential non-homestead, seasonal recreational residential, agricultural, resort, or commercial. Each classification may be taxed at a different percentage of market value. These percentages are set by the Minnesota State Legislature and may change from year to year.

    Viewing Property
    Approximately every fifth year, the assessor will view each taxable property. In addition, all new construction, alterations or improvements are viewed in the current year.

    Gathering Information
    The Assessor gathers information on all characteristics of the property that affect market value, such as size and age of the building, quality of construction, and special features such as basement finish, fireplaces, walk-out basements, etc. Characteristics about the land are also observed, such as location, number of acres of land, quality features of the land, as well as determining the amount and quality of front footage on the lake involved.

    Appraising Property
    The Becker County Assessor's Office utilizes a computer-aided mass appraisal (CAMA) system which helps the assessor achieve uniformity and equality during the assessment process.

    According to state law, the assessors estimated market value are supposed to represent 100% of real value as expressed in the real estate market. The Minnesota Department of Revenue, through the State Board of Equalization, meets annually with the County Assessor and through the use of statistical measures determines and reviews the overall quality and level of assessment. The estimated market values relative to properties which have sold during the previous year should be at 90-105%.

  • What is Market Value?

    Market value can be defined as the highest price in terms of money which a property will bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeably, and assuming that neither is under undue duress.

  • How does the Assessor determine market value?

    Minnesota state law requires that the value and classification of all real and personal property be established as of January 2nd of each year. The Assessor's Office works throughout the year to analyze property sales and economic conditions in order to estimate market value of properties for the following January 2nd assessment date.

  • Who are these Appraisers, and what are their credentials?

    Local taxing districts hire assessors to collect and analyze data on all properties in the country. Some taxing districts hire the county assessors' office to complete the assessment for them. To find the name of the assessor in your taxing district, check the list of Becker County Assessors. All assessments throughout the entire county are supervised from the County Assessor's Office, under the direction of the County Assessor. The local assessors and staff appraisers employed by Becker County are professionals. Stringent training and experience requirements are set by state statute. The State Board of Assessors governs and administers the licensing of ad-val orem property assessors.