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Municipal-wide reassessments are the best way to ensure that assessments are fair and accurate.

During a reassessment, the assessor (or a hired contractor) will review the market values of all of the properties in the community. Based on changes in the real estate market, the assessor will determine which assessments need to be increased or decreased.

Depending on how long it has been since the last reassessment, the assessor may send information requests to property owners or physically reinspect properties.

Reassessments ensure you pay only your fair share of taxes

After several years without a reassessment, some properties will be over-assessed and some will be under-assessed. This is because some properties will have increased in value, while others may have decreased or stayed the same. Without a reassessment, all of the properties will continue to pay the same amount of taxes. For example:

Property reassessments
Market value/taxes Property A Property B Property C Total taxes collected by town
Market value 20 years ago (last reassessment) $100,000 $100,000 $100,000
Taxes 20 years ago $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $6,000
Current market value $300,000 $200,000 $100,000
Current taxes $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $6,000

In this example, Properties A and B are still paying the same amount of taxes as Property C, even though their market value has increased over the years. This is because their assessments haven't changed in 20 years. Properties A and B should pay more taxes than Property C. If the properties in this example were fairly assessed, Property A would pay $3,000, Property B $2,000 and Property C would pay $1,000.

Without a reassessment, Property C is actually subsidizing the tax bill of Property A. This is because what one property owner doesn't rightly pay will be paid by other property owners.

Reassessment and its effect on property taxes

Conducting a reassessment does not mean that your assessment or your taxes will automatically increase. Your taxes may increase, decrease or stay the same.

Over time, the market value of properties change. The value of some properties may increase, while the value of some properties may decrease. Frequent reassessments ensure that your property is assessed based on current market values, rather than on market values from 20 years ago, like the example above.

If your assessment increases, it doesn't mean that your taxes will automatically increase. If the increase in your assessment is less than the average increase, your taxes will actually decrease. For example:

  • if your assessment increased by 12%, and
  • the average assessment increase was 15%, then
  • your taxes will decrease (assuming your school and municipal budgets remain stable and the tax levies do not increase).

For more information, see: Assessments vs. Taxes: What’s the difference?

Reassessments don't increase the amount of taxes that need to be collected by local governments

The assessor is not responsible for taxes–only for assessments.

Months after assessments are finalized by the assessor, taxing units (school districts, cities, towns and counties) determine the amount of taxes that a taxing unit needs to collect from property owners, this is known as the tax levy.

The property tax levy is determined separately from the assessments. The tax levy is then distributed over all taxable assessments.

If assessments increase, tax rates should go down proportionally. This is because the tax levy is now being distributed over a broader tax base. If tax rates go up or stay the same, it simply means that the municipality or school district is collecting more in taxes.

Put another way, if the total amount of taxes collected is a pie, the size of the pie is determined by city councils, town boards, school boards, and county legislatures.

The reassessment doesn't impact the size of the pie; it just helps to ensure the pie is cut up fairly–that taxes are fairly distributed based on current market values.

You'll be notified of your new assessment

When your city or town does a reassessment, a notice will be sent informing you of your new assessment. If you have any questions or disagree with the new assessment, you should arrange for an informal conference at your assessor's office to review the information on which the value is based. If the assessment official(s) feel that a mistake was made (or there is any other reason to question the accuracy of the assessment), the assessment will be amended.