Frequently Asked Assessment Questions

Q:  What is an assessment?
Q:  What is full and true value?
Q:  How is property assessed?
Q:  What is the assessor's role in municipal taxation?
Q:  Why do property values change?
Q:  How often are properties reassessed?
Q:  Why is the assessed value different from the sale price recently paid?
Q:  Do all assessments change at the same rate?
Q:  How is an assessment different from a private appraisal?
Q:  How is a new value determined if little or nothing in my neighborhood has sold?
Q:  What should I do if I find an error or omission in my assessment?
Q:  How much will my taxes be?
Q:  What gives the appraiser the right to photograph or enter my property uninvited?
Q:  What is the maximum amount my property value may increase in any given year?
Q:  How can my value change when I have not made any improvements to my property?
Q:  My house (or new construction project) is not 100% complete. Is it assessable when it is not complete?
Q:  Are structures assessable that are not on permanent foundations, such as mobile homes, trailors and utility sheds?
Q:  Do "No Trespassing" signs stop an appraiser from coming on my property?

Frequently Asked Title Questions

Q:  My spouse recently died. How do I go about removing them from the tax rolls?
Q:  My mother/father recently died. How do I go about remvoing them from the tax rolls?
Q:  Can I automatically receive all the interest of my partner in our real estate venture?
Q:  I recently got married/divorced and my name has changed. How do I change my name on the tax rolls?
Q:  My name is spelled wrong on the tax rolls. Can you please correct the spelling on the tax rolls?
Q:  How do I add someone onto my tax parcel?

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What is a supplemental?
Q:  What is a Mill?
Q:  How do I figure out what my taxes will be using a mill rate?
Q:  What does it take to qualify for an exemption?
Q:  My ex-partner and I divided an old lot we both owned into 2 lots. We went through the Planning Department, fulfilled all the platting procedures and had a new plat recorded, but the Borough is still assessing both lots to both of our names. Why?
Q:  My neighbor and I owned an empty lot together that was between our homes. We went through the Planning Department procedures and recorded a new plat giving 1/2 of the middle lot to me and the other half to my neighbor. Why do both my name and my neighbors name appear on our tax statements for each other's lot?

Q: My spouse recently died. How do I go about removing them from the tax rolls?

A:  In Alaska, when a married couple takes title together on a piece of property and do not delineate separate interests on the deed, they are assumed to be Tenants by the Entirety. This means that when one spouse dies, the other automatically succeeds to the whole interest in the property as long as they were married at the time of the death. Once a copy of the death certificate has been sent to the Borough and the parcel has been reviewed for all these criteria, the spouse will be removed from the tax rolls.

Q: My mother/father recently died. How do I go about removing them from the tax rolls?

A:  In Alaska, only married couples can take title together as Tenants by the Entirety. If your deceased parent were still married, their spouse would receive all of the interest in the property with proof from a Death Certificate. (See above) If widowed or single, the property goes to their Estate and a deed from the Personal Representative is needed to transfer the property. In order to determine if the estate needs to be probated, you should contact an attorney.

Q: Can I automatically receive all the interest of my partner in our real estate venture?

A:  When 2 or more unmarried persons take title, this is known as Tenants in Common and each are assumed to have an undivided ½ interest unless other percentages are delineated. When 1 owner dies, the heirs of their estate will receive their interest. To transfer property out of an estate, a deed needs to be executed by the Personal Representative of their estate. An attorney should be contacted for the proper procedures for probating the estate.

Q: I recently got married/divorced and my name has changed. How do I change my name on the tax rolls?

A:  Alaska State Statutes prohibits us from adding, removing and/or changing names unless we receive a recorded deed. You may wish to consult an attorney or hire the title company to assist you with the changes you wish to make on the deed. Once the changes are made, the deed must be recorded. The individual recording district will send us a copy automatically and we will then change our records.

Q: My name is spelled wrong on the tax rolls. Can you please correct the spelling on the tax rolls?

A:  Alaska State Statutes prohibits us from adding, removing and/or changing names unless we receive a recorded Deed. You may wish to contact an attorney or title company to assist you with the changes you wish to make on the Deed. Once the changes are made, the Deed should be recorded. The individual recording district will send us a copy automatically and we will then change our records.

Q: How do I add someone onto my tax parcel?

A:  To add someone as a Primary Owner on your parcel, you have to record a deed. You can get a blank deed at most office supply stores or from a title company. You can also contact your attorney to draw up a deed for you. The deed must be signed & notarized. To record a deed, you may mail or take the notarized deed to the District Recorder where the property is located. The deed must contain the addresses of the Grantors and Grantees. Contact the District Recorder or one of the title companies for other recording requirements. Include a check for the recording costs: $20 for the first page and $5 for each subsequent page.

Q: What is an assessment?

A:  Your assessment is the basis on which your Borough and City property taxes are calculated.  The assessment is the estimated full and true value of a property on January 1of the assessment year.

Q: What is full and true value?

A: State law requires the assessor to assess property at its “full and true value” (market value) as of January 1 of the assessment year. This is defined as “the estimated price the property would bring in an open market and under the then prevailing market conditions in a sale between a willing seller and a willing buyer both conversant with the property and with prevailing general price levels.”

Q: How is property assessed?

A: Appraisers from the borough assessing department conduct field inspections to collect and verify property descriptions and to identify all characteristics which might affect a property’s value. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, land area and features, the size of the structure(s), the quality of materials and workmanship, building style and number of stories, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, heat source, and observed condition. The property’s characteristics are used to calculate replacement cost and depreciation, plus land value, which are compared with similar market sales and adjusted to market value based upon prevailing price levels.

Q: What is the assessor's role in municipal taxation?

A: The assessor’s duties are to discover, list and value all taxable property in the borough in a fair and uniform manner in accordance with state law and borough code. The assessor also administers tax exemption programs as authorized by law. The assessor is not involved in billing or collecting property taxes or establishing mill rates.

Q: Why do property values change?

A: The most frequent reason for a change in value of a given property is a change in market conditions. This means a change in the supply or demand for real estate, which typically reflects broader trends in the local or regional economy such as employment levels, household income, inflation or deflation, prevailing interest rates, consumer confidence, or any number of other economic factors. Basically, a change in market conditions means a change in the price a seller would be willing to accept or the price a buyer would be willing to pay for a given property. The assessor continually tracks market conditions as reflected in real estate sales prices and overall price levels.

Q: How often are properties reassessed?

A: State law requires all properties to be assessed at market value as of January 1 each year. This does not mean that every property is physically inspected each year. Properties in the borough are required to be physically re-inspected at least every five years. The purpose of this cyclical re-inspection is to ensure that the assessing department maintains an accurate and up-to-date description of all taxable property in the borough, and to capture any unreported structures that may have been added since our last visit.

Q: Why is the assessed value different from the sale price recently paid?

A: While a sale price is usually the most reliable indicator of market value, not all sales represent market value. Some sales may represent a distressed seller or buyer, or there may be considerations other than cash paid as part of the transaction, such as a trade of other goods or services. Or, the sale may have been a private transaction, or between related parties, which did not allow adequate exposure in the open marketplace. In addition, a single sale does not make a market, and the assessing department considers all known sales in a given area to establish market trends, which the department then uses to apply a uniform valuation method to all properties in the area.

Q: Do all assessments change at the same rate?

A: Not always, there may be differences between individual properties and between neighborhoods. In one area the sales may indicate a substantial increase in value in a given year, while in another neighborhood there may be no change in value, or even a decrease in value. Different types of properties within the same neighborhood may also show different value changes. For example, one-story houses may be more in demand than two-story houses, or vice versa, depending on prevailing market conditions.

Q: How is an assessment different from a private appraisal?

A: The assessing department is concerned not only with market value, but also with equity of assessment, which means making sure that every property is assessed at the same level as all others with respect to market value. For this reason, the assessor uses a broad scope in its approach to value, using overall trends to value all properties in a given market area. In contrast, a private appraisal is only concerned with estimating the value of a single property. Consequently, the scope is usually focused on a small number of comparable sales, and making adjustments for the differences between those sales and the subject. Overall, given adequate market data, the value estimates produced by a mass appraisal assessment process and a private appraisal should be very similar.

Q: How is a new value determined if little or nothing in my neighborhood has sold?

A: Just because there have been few or no sales in a given neighborhood does not mean that properties would not sell if reasonably exposed to the market. The assessing department relies on voluntary disclosure of sale prices from buyers and sellers in order to obtain market data. If the department has insufficient recent sales in a given area, it must rely upon older sales and/or sales from similar neighborhoods to determine market trends and to estimate full and true value.

Q: What should I do if I find an error or omission in my assessment?

 A: You should contact the Assessor’s office and report the error.   It is the property owners’ responsibility to notify the assessor of any errors or omissions. Unfinished improvements under construction are taxable as is. Unreported improvements are added to the assessment roll, with penalties and interest, at the time of discovery.

Q: How much will my taxes be?

A: Taxes for the current assessment cannot be calculated until the tax rates have been set by the service areas and cities.   The tax rates are set in June of each year and tax bills are mailed July 1st.   Taxes are calculated by multiplying the taxable assessed value by the tax rate.    

 Sample:

Taxable Value X Tax Rate =   Annual Tax

Taxable Value

Tax Rate

Annual Tax

$100,000       X

.008 (8 MILLS)     =

$800.00

  *This is only an example. Rates for previous years are available on our website.

Q: What gives the appraiser the right to photograph or enter my property uninvited?

A:  The laws of the State of Alaska require the Assessor or his authorized employees to periodically inspect all real property to determine its true or fair market value.  (AS 29.45.130b)  The assessor or agent of the assessor may enter the property grounds to conduct a physical exterior inspection of the structures during reasonable hours.  An interior inspection may take place if the structure is under construction, or if the person in actual possession of the structures gives permission or under court order. 

Q: What is the maximum amount my property value may increase in any given year?

A:  Alaska State law does not provide for any limit on the amount a property value can increase in order to bring the value current with today's market.  Property should be valued at or near 100% of market value.

Q: How can my value change when I have not made any improvements to my property?

A:  Changes in property values may occur for a number of reasons:

  1. Valued below 100% of market value in the previous year.
  2. Entire area values may raise or lower a certain percentage if sales indicate that prior assessed values were above or below market.  An example of this would be where roads, paving, gas lines or electricity have been extended and the sales across the board appear to be higher.
  3. Have had new construction value added to the property.
  4. Fluctuations in real estate slaes market up or down.
  5. Renovation and modernization.
  6. Property located in an area that has recently been physically inspected by a Borough appraiser and appraisal changes have been made due to changed property conditions, corrections of previous appraisal errors or omissions, etc.
  7. Change in tax status since the previous year (i.e. property no longer qualifies for a Senior Citizen or Disabled Persons Exemption).

Q: My house (or new construction project) is not 100% complete. Is it assessable when it is not complete?

A:  Yes, the Assessor is required by law to assess property at its fair market value regardless of its percentage of completion.  The appraiser will estimate the percentage of completion by utilizing a chart that assigns a percentage to each phase of construction.

Q: Are structures assessable that are not on permanent foundations, such as mobile homes, trailers and utility sheds?

Yes, mobile homes and trailers are classified as real property per AS 29.45.070 and KPB 5.12.160 with the exception of travel trailers that have current registration tags as provided in AS 28.10.431 (g). Utility sheds, conex-type storage units and other relatively permanent structures that are on or attached to the land are considered improvements and are taxable.

Q: Do "No Trespassing" signs stop an appraiser from coming on my property?

No. State of Alaska Statutes allow the assessor or field appraisers to inspect properties even if "No Trespassing" signs are posted. If the owner of the property asks the appraiser to leave the premises, the appraiser will leave and estimate the property attributes and size from the road and value the structure based on those estimates.

Q: What is a supplemental?

A:  Supplemental is an assessment of improvements that have been on the property for more than a year but not included in the last assessment. The supplemental assessment is the difference of what was assessed and what should have been assessed.  Example:

  • If you were assessed at $100,000
  • It should have been $150,000
  • Supplemental would be $ 50,000

Q: What is a Mill?

A:  A mill is a thousandth of a dollar (1/1000 of 1$). A mill represents $1 of tax for each $1,000 of assessed value. 10 mills = $10 for every $1,000 of Assessed Value.

Q: How do I figure out what my taxes will be using a mill rate?

A:  To convert Mills to a decimal, simply move the decimal 3 places to the left. Example:   An Assessed Value of $100,000 and a Mill Rate of 10.0 would be a tax of $1,000 (100,000 X .010 = 1,000)

Q: What does it take to qualify for an exemption?

  1. The property must be in your name as of January 1 of the tax year.
  2. There needs to be an improvement and be your primary residence as of January 1.
  3. You need to apply for the exemption by January 15.

Q: My ex-partner and I divided an old lot we both owned into 2 lots. We went through the Planning Department, fulfilled all the platting procedures and had a new plat recorded, but the Borough is still assessing both lots to both of our names. Why?

A:  When you re-plat or re-subdivide a larger parcel of property into smaller parts, the lot boundaries change but the ownership of the property does not change until a deed is recorded. The owners of the old lot are still the owners of the 2 new lots created out of the old lot, no matter what the boundaries are now. After the plat is recorded, each party needs to convey all their interest to the other party on their respective new lots.  Example:   
Joe & Bill own Lot A, and re-plat it into A-1 & A-2. Joe wants Lot A-1, so Bill would convey his interest by a Quitclaim Deed to Joe. Bill gets Lot A-2, so Joe would convey his interest by a Quitclaim Deed to Bill)

Q: My neighbor and I owned an empty lot together that was between our homes. We went through the Planning Department procedures and recorded a new plat giving 1/2 of the middle lot to me and the other half to my neighbor. Why do both my name and my neighbors name appear on our tax statements for each other's lot?

A:  When you replat or resubdivide a larger parcel of property into smaller parts or if you combine small lots into one larger lot, the lot boundaries change but the ownership of the property does not change until a deed is recorded. When you divide a lot into pieces and add the pieces to existing lots, all the small pieces are still held in ownership by both parties, no matter what the boundaries are now. After the plat is recorded, each party needs to convey all their interest to the other party on their respective new lots.

 

 

 

 

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. It is expressly understood that the Kenai Peninsula Borough, its assemblies, boards, departments, employees and agents are not responsible for any errors or omissions contained herein, or deductions, interpretations or conclusions drawn there from.

PLEASE NOTE:   File structure has been modified for 2015. See readme file for details.

Directions: Select the appropriate page below using the first three numbers of the desired PIN.   From there you will select the map which begins with the first six numbers of the PIN.   On each map, the last 2 numbers in a PIN are in the circle on the lot.

  Map File (First 3 Digits of Parcel Number)  
012-025
035-049
055-066
119-144
145-149
157-174
175-181
185-193
201-241

The role of the Assessing Department is to discover, list and value all taxable property in the borough in a fair and uniform manner in accordance with state law and borough code.  The Assessing Department also administers tax exemption programs as authorized by law.

The Borough Assessment is the basis on which Borough and City tax is calculated.  The assessment is the estimated full and true value of a property on January 1 of the assessment year.