1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Smith
Senate Bill 2321
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 27-35-113, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE TAX COMMISSION SHALL CONDUCT BIENNIALLY, RATHER THAN ANNUALLY, ASSESSMENT/RATIO STUDIES OR OF EACH COUNTY OR USE OTHER MEANS TO DETERMINE IF EACH COUNTY'S ASSESSMENT RECORDS COMPLY WITH ACCEPTABLE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 27-35-113, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-35-113. (1) It shall be the duty of the tax commission to carefully examine the recapitulations of the assessment rolls of the counties, when received, to compare the assessed valuation of the various classes of property in the respective counties, to investigate and determine if the assessed valuation of any classes of property in any one or more counties of the state is not equal and uniform with the assessed values fixed upon the same classes of property in other counties of the state, and to ascertain if any class of property in any one or more counties is assessed contrary to law.
(2) The commission shall, by regulation, establish performance standards and acceptable parameters for evaluation of the accuracy of assessments. These standards shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) Assessment level: The ratio of assessments to current true value or market value;
(b) Assessment uniformity: The test of uniformity or fairness of individual assessments; and
(c) Assessment equity: The test of price-related bias.
(3) The commission shall biennially conduct assessment/ratio studies of each county or utilize other means, as determined appropriate by the commission, to determine if each county's assessment records comply with acceptable performance standards. The commission shall send notice of the results of this examination to the assessor and the board of supervisors of each county no later than thirty (30) days after receipt of the board of supervisors' recapitulation. Any county not in compliance with the acceptable performance standards shall, within ninety (90) days of the commission's order, adopt and submit to the commission for approval a plan for achieving compliance and begin the implementation of the plan so that compliance can be achieved by the second succeeding year's assessment roll after the tax year for which the commission's initial order was directed. Failure to adopt and submit an approved plan for achieving compliance or failure to properly implement and follow an approved plan shall cause the commission to withhold the county's homestead exemption reimbursement monies until such time as the county has complied with this provision. In the event the county has not complied with this provision by the end of the state's fiscal year, then the commission shall place the funds so held in a special escrow account. All interest shall accrue to the benefit of the county on this account.
(4) The commission shall approve the property tax rolls of any county operating under a supervised plan to achieve compliance within the first two (2) roll years as provided for in the paragraph above, notwithstanding that the county may be failing a test or tests of the accuracy or equity of assessment.
(5) Any county failing to achieve such compliance for the second succeeding year's assessment roll as outlined above shall be subject to the following restrictions until such time as said tax rolls come into compliance:
(a) The commission shall place into escrow all homestead exemption reimbursements;
(b) The county shall levy and pay over to the commission, for purposes of being placed in the escrow account, the proceeds of the one (1) mill levy provided for in Section 27-39-329(1)(b). All interest shall accrue to the benefit of the county on any funds placed in an escrow account; and
(c) The commission shall identify the class or classes of property whose assessment level is not in conformity with the regulation of the commission governing same, and shall have the authority to adjust and equalize that class or classes of property by, either requiring a fixed percent (1) to be added to the assessed valuation of any class of property in any county found too low; or (2) to be deducted from the assessed valuation of any class of property found too high; in order that the class or classes of property are being assessed in conformity with the commission's regulation.
(6) Once the county achieves compliance with the standard of performance as to assessment level, uniformity and equity as established by the rules and regulations of the State Tax Commission, the commission shall release to the county all funds held in escrow on its behalf during the period of noncompliance.
(7) The board of supervisors of any county aggrieved by any order of the commission may appeal such order to the commission within thirty (30) days after the mailing of such order to the board. The commission shall hear the objections by the board of supervisors and may either affirm its order or rescind its order; however, the commission shall not have the authority to grant relief which is inconsistent with this section. The decision of the commission shall be final.
(8) It is the intent of this section and that of this chapter to vest the tax commission with authority to investigate and determine the assessed valuation of classes of property, and to further establish and/or clarify that tax assessors and the boards of supervisors are vested with the absolute authority to investigate and determine the assessed valuations of individual parcels of property located in their particular county in a manner consistent with the laws of this state.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.