Fair Share

Fair Share FAQs
What is the Fair Share Initiative (FSI)? FSI is an effort to implement policies and procedures to identify and reduce the number of under-appraised properties with the purpose of making property tax more fair and equitable. It follows that for every taxpayer who pays less than their share, other taxpayers are paying more.

For example?
1) A property that sold for X, but on the tax roll for less than the percent of the sales price allowed, is possibly under-appraised. A trained appraiser should determine if the sale was “arm’s length” with no extenuating circumstances and thus a valid sale.
2) A property classified as Agricultural without being used for any agricultural purpose.
3) A property without a Certificate of Value on file if required of the buyer/seller.
4) A property renovated or improved without a building permit on file.
5) A homestead exemption/credit on a property that is not the primary residence of the owner.
6) A residential property being used for commercial purposes.

How does it work? Appraising a single property is hard work; appraising thousands of properties in the same amount of time is beyond hard, it’s often not possible. Few jurisdictions have the staff and the systems to keep track of all the properties as they change hands, are reclassified, improved or raised. Yet often times entities within that jurisdiction are aware of those events. The solution is a partnership whereby taxing entities advocate for themselves and at the same time reduce the cost of “discovery”. Discovery is the task whereby mass appraisers first determine an event has taken place and then follow-up to determine the event’s effect on value. FSI is proposing a significant amount of time could be saved if partnering entities would initiate the discovery process whenever, and as early in the process, as possible?

What are some FSI policies and procedures?
1) Ideally entity partners will forward information to taxing authorities as soon as any relevant information is known: i.e. plats filed, building and occupancy permit applications, utility hookup date, properties sold or leased and properties whose classification may have changed. For example, residential to commercial, agricultural to commercial, primary residence to rental home, etc. It is especially important for the dates of the foregoing events to be recorded.
2) The concept of “the neighborhood” is basic to and the starting point for, mass appraisal. It is crucial that like properties be identified as such and assigned a code indicating they are in a designated neighborhood. It’s often obvious even to the untrained eye, that some properties no longer compare to those nearby, which could be an example of a valuation trend that has changed the boundaries of a neighborhood.

Anything else? Yes, making sure a community’s property valuations reflect the true market value of property is important, not only as a means to increase revenues to keep pace with rising costs, but also as a means to gauge the ability of agencies and taxing authorities to finance existing and future bonds. For more information contact Marlene Jeffers: marlene@courthouseusa.com (816) 529-9169