Tax Assessor Career Profile

A Tax Assessor (TA) is the person who primarily evaluates real estate property, solely for estimating the property tax. Every property owner has to pay a property tax as per federal laws. So, to assess the property for each and every individual property, TAs play a vital role. TAs are normally employed by governmental agencies. Their primary responsibility is to visit a locality and estimate a fair property tax charges.

Property Assessors are expected to be certified and licensed after finishing the mandatory training programs. But the licensing rules vary with each state. Apart from training, they need to be able to pass a state exam. TAs can select their area of concentration, regarding a particular type of property, namely residential or commercial properties. They can become experts in the sector of their choice.

Daily Tasks

  • They visit the property location, where the properties are needed to be assessed.
  • Generally, their visit is periodical and they do it on a mass scale. Assessment of individual property is normally undertaken only when the owner has legally challenged the property tax levied on his property. In few localities they may have to change their rates every year or after a few years.
  • TAs must often take photographs of the sited property; scrutinize the permits of the newly constructed properties and prepare the necessary documents along with their results.
  • They apply standard evaluation techniques for their assessment, as it will ensure an equal determination of the value of the asset.
  • TAs will have to consider property tax exemptions if any are on the list of surveyed properties. When there are cases with such tax exemptions, then their legal correctness has to be verified. There are tax exemptions under State Elderly Tax Relief and Town Elderly Tax Relief Programs.
  • In recent years, state of the art software has come online to automate these valuations. TAs must know how to manually calculate the state tax or be familiar with this software to justify or diminish the charge.
  • They have to prepare annually the Yearly Grand List after conducting assessments of property taxes for all taxable properties.

Educational and Certification Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is usually sufficient to become a tax assessor. Certification and licensing, as per the regulations of Appraisal Qualification Board of The Appraisal Foundation, are essential. Two to five years of experience in the real estate evaluation business is required in order to become certified. They must also pass a state examination, on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

TAs should be proficient in mathematics and computer skills. They must show cooperation and be able to work in a coordinated effort with others.

Income and Growth

In 2006, the median annual salary for tax assessors was calculated at $44,460. But their salary ranged between $24,000 and $86,140, depending on their experience and valuation.

The employment opportunities of TAs are expected to increase by more than 17% in the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As more properties are developed, the numbers of TAs rise proportionally.