The Language of Assessment
Property assessment and taxation is a complex subject. Knowing the terminology will help you understand the assessment process. The Niobrara County Assessor's office is dedicated to educating the public about procedures and methods used to be in compliance with State of Wyoming statutes, rules and regulations.
Account Number - is the number for a parcel generated by RealWare. It is used by the Assessor's Office to identify parcels. These seven-digit numbers are prefaced with R for Real Property, P for Personal Property, M for Mobile Homes and O for Oil and Gas Industries.
Assessment Date - under Wyoming Statute is January 1st of each tax year. All properties are valued, assessed and taxed to the owner of record on this date.
Assessment Schedule - is also called the NOV (Notice of Value). Sent to the taxpayer on or before the fourth Monday in April, the Assessment Schedule contains the property's estimated fair market value for the current and previous year, or productive value in the case of agricultural land, the assessment ratio, the amount of taxes assessed on the taxable property from the previous year, and an estimate of the taxes which will be due and payable for the current year based on the previous year's mill levies.
Assessed Value - is the taxable value of each property. This value is calculated by multiplying the fair market value by the level of assessment.
CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) - is a computer system developed by the State of Wyoming to perform three functions:
- Warehouse information collected by the assessor's office staff. Information such as ownership, location, size, use, physical characteristics, condition, and sales information must be continually updated.
- CAMA is like a complex calculator. It contains equations, cost and depreciation tables which automate standard appraisal methods to estimate fair market value.
- Quality control features such as reports generated using various parameters.
Cost Approach - is the method of estimating the value of property by estimating the cost of construction, based on replacement or reproduction cost, new or trended historical cost, subtracting depreciation and adding the estimated land value.
Fair Market Value - is the amount of money a well-informed buyer would pay and a well-informed seller would accept for property that has been on the open market for a reasonable amount of time, assuming neither buyer nor seller is acting under pressure.
Improvements - are buildings, other structures and attachments to land that are intended to remain so attached.
Level of Assessment - is the percentage of the fair market value that determines assessed value. The current level of assessment for industrial use properties is 11.5%; all other properties are at 9.5%. The level of assessment is set by the legislature and is subject to change.
Mass Appraisal - is the process of valuing a universe of properties as of a given date, utilizing standard methodology, employing common data, and allowing for statistical testing. The goal of mass appraisal is the same as fee appraisal: to develop a reasonable estimate of fair market value.
Mill literally, one thousandth. For tax purposes: $1 of taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value.
Mill Levy - is the number of dollars in taxes that a property owner must pay for every $1,000 of assessed value. This amount is based on budget requests from various taxing entities.
Neighborhood Boundaries - are developed by the assessor based on physical, economical, governmental, or social factors. These neighborhood boundaries are used when sales studies are done.
Personal Property - includes material assets that are not fixed to the land such as furniture, machinery or equipment, transportable homes.
Property Tax Appraiser - is the designation given to those persons who have completed the education and training mandated by the State of Wyoming for anyone making a valuation judgment used as a basis for property taxation
Real Property - is defined as land and improvements (buildings and structures) permanently fixed to the land.
RealWare - is the Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system used by the Assessor's Office. The Wyoming Department of Revenue mandated that all counties use this system. The CAMA System dramatically reduces the time, effort, and expense necessary to fix a value to a property.
Statement of Consideration - is a document, which provides sales information that must be used in addition to other information to determine current market value. The seller, buyer or agent completes the document at the time of a property transfer. Information is confidential and not public record. Property owners may review the sales information used to determine the value of their property. The SOC review period is only during the 30-day appeal period and the property owner may not further disclose the sales information to other persons or property owners. Sales information may be introduced to the County Board of Equalization during a formal appeal, but actions must be taken to prevent its indiscriminate disclosure.
Tax Base - is the total value of property against which the property tax is levied.
Tax Districts - are the geographic area on which a taxing entity has the right to levy taxes. These entities include school districts, counties, cities, water or sewer districts, fire districts or other specially formed districts as designated by state statute.