The 15 Arizona County Assessors are charged with identifying and valuing all of the real property in their jurisdictions.

Each year they are required to send out valuation notices between January 1st and no later than the end of February.

The notices are sent to the “last known address” of the property owner, and the property owner has 60 days from the date of the notice (not the date on which they receive it) to file an administrative protest, or to have one filed on their behalf. Alternatively a protest can be filed through Tax Court any time until December 15, subject to some restrictions.

If the assessor has a bad address, or if the property has been recently acquired and the assessor still has the address of the former owner, tough luck. It is the property owner’s responsibility (not the assessor’s) to search out the value and comply with the protest filing dates. Taxpayer beware!

The valuation notice give the assessor’s estimate of the valuation of the property and it’s legal class as of January 1 of the valuation year. This value and class, or any modifications, become the basis for the calculation of taxes to be paid in the tax year, which is the following year – e.g. 2009 valuation notices will determine taxes for the 2010 tax year.

In addition, the assessor can issue supplemental notices of valuation any time up to September 30 of the valuation year to reflect new construction, creation of a new tax parcel, change in ownership and a few other specifically enumerated items.

Once again it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to be aware of, and respond on a timely basis, to these notices. Taxpayer Beware!

Additionally, the Assessor can issue, at any time (subject to certain limitations) a “Notice of Proposed Correction” to correct specific “errors”, including the creation of new tax parcels, “overlooked” improvements, etc. Taxpayer Beware!

And there are additional complicated regulations and processes. The bottom line is that it’s a complicated process.

Arizona taxes Business Personal Property. It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to self report their business personal property.

There is a tax exemption for the first $50,000 (adjusted for inflation) of personal property, but that exemption does not technically eliminate the requirement to self-report (though that requirement is interpreted differently in some of the 15 Arizona counties).

Personal property must be reported in a number of different categories, and the category selected affects the depreciation schedule. Taxpayer Beware!

The Arizona depreciation schedules differ from the federal depreciation schedules, so state and federal filing requirements are different, and not necessarily compatible. Taxpayer Beware!

The assessors have audit responsibilities and the authority to assess penalties and interest on under-reported value.

There is very little information on the complicated personal property process in the statutes. Most of the information is covered in various publications from the Department of Revenue. Taxpayer Beware!


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