Quantcast

Local tax assessors may be in hot water because of state audit - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Local tax assessors may be in hot water because of state audit

Posted: Updated:

 

When property values go up, property owners are happy. They're less happy when taxes on that property also rise. The job of assessing values for tax purposes therefore can be controversial. Now an audit of this tax system has found many parish assessors simply failing to reassess property and the state watchdog in charge of policing assessors rolling over and playing dead.  

As demanded by Louisiana's constitution, every property gets its value assessed every four years by the parish tax assessor. This appraisal sets a tax rate for the property owners. The Louisiana Tax Commission makes sure parish assessors are doing their jobs correctly.

However, the recent audit of the tax commission found  this board failing to make sure assessors were conducting 4-year reassessments. Nor did the commission check the accuracy of the assessments submitted by each parish. In fact, the commission approved $118 million in property value decreases but only $10 million dollars in increases.

The governor-appointed commission didn't follow up on properties with values assessed below or above the mandated  fair-market value range. Audits on Caddo and Bossier Parishes found several properties well out of range, meaning owners of similar properties could be paying different tax amounts. Both parish assessors disagree with the audit's findings.

"This is a house, that I have at $35,000, and they say is worth $70,000," Bobby Edminston, Bossier's assessor, said. He says auditors assessed properties solely on neighborhood sales averages based on square footage value. That's not fair to him.

"Let's say the average is $50 a square foot, " Edminston said. "Well, they're applying that $50 square foot on that first house I showed you, which may worth on $25 a square foot. The last house I showed you may be worth $75 a square foot." Edminston says the audit is missing important information like the ages of homes in the area, information which he uses.

Caddo and Bossier Parishes' assessors basically use the same methods to reach  an assessment. They check not only sales averages but compare similar property types in an area. Then, they factor in a home's age. They also count original construction details, like cosmetic additions and square footage.

"When the house is originally constructed, we do go through the house," Edminston said. "We document all the information that's pertinent to it. What type of fixtures it has. What type of bathrooms it has. How many bedrooms its got."

This means assessors can often use outdated information because there aren't regular on-site inspections, conditions that may decrease value or improvements that enhance values aren't  always known. Charles Henington, Caddo's assessor, says assessors try to monitor improvements mostly through construction permits.

"Some people don't get permits," Henington said. "It's not so much they don't have to, but they should. We might not know about it. We might know about it through other ways, but not through permits."

Edminston says realtor websites also come in handy. "Again, we can't go into the house, but the realtor's websites like realtor.com, things like that, are very good," he said. "Because, when a person is trying to sell you a house, they tell you all the great things about."

Henington says any new, higher selling price is factored into the sales average. It seems similar to how the auditors reached their findings.

"So, we have to look at several sales in that area," Henington said. "If they're all selling for the same amount, we assume that price per square foot would also effect this house we have not be able to look at or the sale has not happened on."

He adds a home may be singled out because of a recent sales price to perform inquiries. "Now, if we're so far off, say we have it for $50,000 and it sales for $200,000, yeah we might do that," Henington said.

In the state tax commission audit, it was found that Caddo had nearly a little more than 47 percent of its sampled properties out of the fair-market value range. Bossier Parish had nearly 42 percent.

 

  • News NowMore>>

  • Shreveport ostal worker admits to stealing DVDs, cash

    Shreveport ostal worker admits to stealing DVDs, cash

    Saturday, August 23 2014 5:13 AM EDT2014-08-23 09:13:33 GMT
    Federal prosecutors say a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier from Shreveport has pleaded guilty to stealing Netflix DVDs and money.
    Federal prosecutors say a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier from Shreveport has pleaded guilty to stealing Netflix DVDs and money.
  • State: 2 new chikungunya cases, no dengue in Louisiana

    State: 2 new chikungunya cases, no dengue in Louisiana

    Saturday, August 23 2014 5:04 AM EDT2014-08-23 09:04:47 GMT
    State health officials report two new cases of chikungunya fever but none of dengue fever in Louisiana.
    State health officials report two new cases of chikungunya fever but none of dengue fever in Louisiana.
  • Shreveport man seriously injured during domestic-related shooting

    Shreveport man seriously injured during domestic-related shooting

    Saturday, August 23 2014 2:37 AM EDT2014-08-23 06:37:43 GMT
    A Shreveport man is critically injured early Saturday morning after a visit to his girlfriend's apartment leads to gunfire.
    A Shreveport man is critically injured early Saturday morning after a visit to his girlfriend's apartment leads to gunfire.
  • ArkLaTex SlideshowsMore>>

  • ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:24 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:24:12 GMT
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
  • SPD Vice operation nets more than a dozen arrests

    SPD Vice operation nets more than a dozen arrests

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:01 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:01:06 GMT
    More than a dozen people were arrested following a prostitution sting conducted by the Shreveport Police Department's Vice Unit.
    More than a dozen people were arrested following a prostitution sting conducted by the Shreveport Police Department's Vice Unit.
  • UPDATED: More BACK TO SCHOOL Pictures 2014

    UPDATED: More BACK TO SCHOOL Pictures 2014

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:23 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:23:14 GMT
    2014 Back to School cuties ! Still time to send them to in to #KTBSBTS and UShare@ktbs.com
    2014 Back to School cuties ! Still time to send them to in to #KTBSBTS and UShare@ktbs.com
  • Assignment EducationMore>>

  • Caddo's school nutrition program meet standards

    Caddo's school nutrition program meet standards

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:54:22 GMT
    Caddo's nutrition program is meeting tough standards .School leaders met Friday with officials from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
    Caddo's nutrition program is meeting tough standards .School leaders met Friday with officials from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
  • Caddo Parish school board member withdraws from race

    Caddo Parish school board member withdraws from race

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:40:31 GMT
    A Caddo parish school board member has withdrawn his name from the race and decided not to seek re-election.
    A Caddo parish school board member has withdrawn his name from the race and decided not to seek re-election.
  • Healthy Green and Into the Outdoors: An online discussion about what's on the menu at school

    Healthy Green and Into the Outdoors: An online discussion about what's on the menu at school

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:00 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:00:19 GMT
    Our latest KTBS 3 NewsHealthy Green Into the Outdoorsweb forum shines the spotlight on healthy options in schools. 
    Our latest KTBS 3 NewsHealthy Green Into the Outdoorsweb forum shines the spotlight on healthy options in schools. 
  • NationalMore>>

  • Streets of Ferguson stay calm after violent nights

    Streets of Ferguson stay calm after violent nights

    Saturday, August 23 2014 5:45 AM EDT2014-08-23 09:45:13 GMT
    Ferguson's streets were peaceful for a third night as tensions between police and protesters continued to subside after nights of violence and unrest erupted when a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed...
    Ferguson's streets were peaceful for a third night as tensions between police and protesters continued to subside after nights of violence and unrest erupted when a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black...
  • Police officer accused of sex assaults on patrol

    Police officer accused of sex assaults on patrol

    Saturday, August 23 2014 5:45 AM EDT2014-08-23 09:45:11 GMT
    An Oklahoma City police officer arrested on charges of serial sexual assault preyed on women in the rundown neighborhoods he was assigned to patrol - picking some up off the street, pulling others over at traffic...
    An Oklahoma City police officer arrested on charges of serial sexual assault preyed on women in the rundown neighborhoods he was assigned to patrol - picking some up off the street, pulling others over at traffic stops and...
  • Wash. flash floods, mudslides damage several homes

    Wash. flash floods, mudslides damage several homes

    Saturday, August 23 2014 3:45 AM EDT2014-08-23 07:45:26 GMT
    An estimated 10 homes were damaged or destroyed and highways were blocked as heavy rains unleashed mudslides in an area of north-central Washington where hillsides have been left barren by wildfires.
    An estimated 10 homes were damaged or destroyed and highways were blocked as heavy rains unleashed mudslides in an area of north-central Washington where hillsides have been left barren by wildfires.
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File