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Some Olmsted County residents have recently raised questions about inspection notice postcards they received from Olmsted County Assessment Services.
These postcards state that reappraisals will be occurring in their neighborhood soon, and to ensure accuracy, the reappraisal should include an inspection of both the exterior and interior of each dwelling.
The question raised by residents is whether a homeowner is required to allow Olmsted County appraisers inside their homes. Homeowners absolutely have the right to deny a county appraiser entrance into their home; however, denying an interior inspection may not actually be in the homeowner’s best interest from a property tax perspective.
By conducting these inspections, Olmsted County is simply following Minnesota state law which requires that each property be viewed by an appraiser once every five years.
The reason we conduct property inspections is to ensure that the information used to calculate property taxes is accurate and up to date. If we do not have an accurate assessment of each property, the fairness of the property tax system is impacted.
To ensure understanding of this issue and homeowners’ rights, I’d like to answer some common questions about the revaluation process.
1. Do you have to let the appraiser in? No. According to MN Statute 273.20, you do not have to let a county appraiser inspect your property.
2. Are there consequences for not letting the appraiser in? If you do not allow the appraiser into your home for an inspection, the inspector does get to make some assumptions about your property (e.g. its condition, whether the basement is finished, whether other updates have been made, etc.). This can affect your taxes. If you think your taxes are too high, it may be because prior assumptions have been made by appraisers that may be incorrect.
3. Is the appraiser just trying to raise my taxes? Tax appraisers just want to do their jobs right. Their job is to estimate the fair market value using a tool called Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal.
4. What if I feel my taxes are too high? If you don’t allow the appraiser a full inspection of the interior and exterior of your property, there isn’t much you can do about lowering or appealing your taxes. If you’re satisfied with your assessed value, and you’re uncomfortable with an appraiser walking through your home, don’t let them in. However, if you are unsatisfied with your assessed value, it is in your best interest to allow the appraiser to inspect your home.
5. How can I get my taxes lowered? While appraisers cannot lower taxes, a property’s valuation and classification are part of the equation that determines property taxes. If you have concerns about your property taxes and/or if you have data to support lowering your home’s value, share that information with the appraiser.
Property tax appeal options are also available. For details on the appeal process, consult your Valuation Notice (dates/times of local board hearings are on the front of the notice; appeal instructions are printed on the back). Depending on where you live, appeal hearings will most likely be at city hall or the county/township. And finally, if you’re still not happy, you can go to Minnesota Tax Court. Minnesota Tax Court instructions are also printed on the back of your valuation notice.
Olmsted County appraisers will be conducting property inspections through the summer and into October, and all are required to wear county name badges and carry supporting identification. If you have any concerns about the reappraisal process, please contact the Olmsted County Property Records and Licensing department at 507-328-7670.
Mark Krupski is the director of Olmsted County’s Property Records and Licensing Department.