Seward County

The Assessor's duties and what they mean to you

What are the Assessor's duties?

The Assessor is an elected official who has general supervision over and the direction of the assessment of property in his or her county. The duties are prescribed by Nebraska Statute (Chapter 77), along with Rules and Regulations of the Property Tax Administrator. The following is a partial list of those duties:

What are property taxes?

Property taxes are funds generated by taxing the value of real property and personal property.

How are taxes calculated?

Tax rates are established as a result of a budgetary process. Each governmental agency provides a budget that will cover the cost of maintaining their respective agency for the fiscal year. The budget requirements are totaled and that amount is divided by the total assessed value of property for that subdivision to establish the tax rate. The tax rate is stated as a percent of amount due for each $100 of assessed value.

The County Assessor is not responsible for establishing the tax rate.

Who pays the taxes?

All owners of taxable real property and personal property located within the county.

Who collects them?

The county Treasurer collects property taxes and distributes them to the local subdivisions of government, according to their budgets.

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What are property taxes used for?

Property taxes are used entirely to support local subdivision of government and are a major source of funding for their operation. Taxes help fund essential services such as education, fire and police protection, streets, sewers, county roads and bridges, public transportation, natural resource districts, parks and recreational areas, and many other local services.

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What is real property?

Real property included all lands, buildings, fixtures and improvements, improvements on leased land and cabin trailers and mobile homes not registered for highway use but utilized like a building. Real property also includes mines, minerals, quarries, mineral springs and wells, oil and gas wells. Lastly, real property includes all privileges pertaining to the real property.

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What is taxable Personal Property?

Personal property is defined as tangible, depreciable income producing property including machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures. (A few examples: Combine, tractor, pivots, computers, desks, office equipment, factory machines.

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What is a Homestead Exemption?

A Homestead Exemption provides relief from property taxes by exempting all or a portion of the valuation of the homestead property from taxation. The State of Nebraska reimburses and counties and other governmental subdivisions for the taxes lost due to homestead exemption. The following can file for a homestead exemption: persons over age 65 as of January 1st, certain disabled individuals; or certain disabled veterans and their widow(er)s. Income guidelines must also be met.

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What is a religious or charitable exemption?

An organization which is the owner of real or tangible personal property and is seeking a property tax exemption may file for an exemption, if:

  1. The property is owned by and used exclusively for agricultural and horticultural societies; or,
  2. The property is:
    1. owned by educational, religious, charitable, or cemetery organization;
    2. used exclusively for educations, religious, charitable, or cemetery purposed;
    3. not owned or used for financial gain or profit to either the owner or user;
    4. not used for the sale of alcoholic beverages for more than 20 hour per week; and
    5. not owned or used by an organization which discriminates in membership or employment based on race, color, or natural origin.
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When are property values established?

All property values are established as of assessment date, January 1, 12:01 am of each year.

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What does my valuation represent?

The probable market value of your property as of January 1st.

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How does the Assessor arrive at this valuation?

The assessor uses computer-generated data and pricing to analyze the property based on its age, size, style of construction, condition and replacement costs. Sales data is also reviewed and analyzed. For residential properties, the assessor looks at sales of arms-length properties of the previous 2 years that have sold and for commercial properties the assessor looks at the previous 3 years. Simply put, your value is estimated at what the assessor feels would be a fair market value if it was put on the open market for sale, basing that estimate from the analysis of the properties that sold. Residential and commercial properties are to be 100% of market value. The state allows for a range of 92% to 100%.

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How is agricultural and horticultural land valued?

The assessor used the previous 3 years of arms-length sold properties to analyze the market. An inventory of soil types and land uses such as irrigated, dry and pasture is kept on each property. Different soils and uses may have different values depending on the market. The values set on each soil and use on the sold properties to obtain the required statutory level of value is then applied to all the rest of the agricultural and horticultural land in the county. Agricultural and horticultural lands are to be at 75% of market. The state allows for a range of 69% to 75%. Houses, buildings and the land under them on properties classified as farms are to be valued at 100% of market.

The Assessor’s values are analyzed by the Property Tax Administrator who gives a report called The Reports and Opinion of the Property Tax Administrator to the state’s Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC). If valuations are not compliant, TERC will adjust a county by a percentage to meet the required statutory level.

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What causes a valuation to change?

Property values can change for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

The assessor must notify you by mail on or before June 1st if your valuation has changed from the previous year.

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What should I do if I do not agree with the valuation of my property?

First, contact the Assessor’s Office and explain your concern. Have the assessor review with you your property record card and how your value was arrived at. This gives the assessor a chance to correct possible errors and answer your valuation related questions.

If you are not satisfied with your value after visiting with the Assessor’s Office you may file an appeal with the County Board of Equalization. The appeal must address valuation, not taxes. The deadline to file an appeal is June 30th. A hearing will be scheduled for you to present evidence to support your request for a valuation change.

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What if I disagree with the County Board of Equalization?

You may file an appeal to the state’s Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) and a hearing will be scheduled.

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Contact the County Assessor if you have questions concerning the following:

Contact the County Treasurer if you have a question on the following:

Contact the County Clerk/Register of Deeds is you have a question on the following:

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