1997 Regular Session

To: Finance

By: Senator(s) Gordon

Senate Bill 2959



SECTION 1. Section 27-35-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

27-35-15. (1) The tax assessors shall * * * appraise all personal property subject to taxation in their respective counties at true value and assess it in proportion thereto once every four (4) years. They shall set down in the assessment roll the names in full of all persons liable to taxation in the county in alphabetical order under each municipality, but firms or persons owning the same class of property may be listed on the roll together regardless of the alphabetical order. Where there are on the roll more than one (1) person of the same name, the place of residence of each shall be shown, or they shall be otherwise so designated as to identify each and distinguish them. The assessor shall set down each item of personal property liable to taxation and the amount of each individual's taxable property shall be totaled and set down in the column provided, opposite his name. The assessor shall so fill out the blanks on the rolls as to disclose clearly and fully all information indicated by the roll.

The tax assessor shall place in the columns provided on the roll the true value of the property owned by each taxpayer in every road district, school district, levee district or other special taxing district imposing an ad valorem tax; and he shall truly and correctly add every column on the roll and show in the proper column the total amount of property assessed to every taxpayer and the amount assessed to every taxpayer in each and every road district, school district or other special taxing district; and the totals of each column from every page shall be carried to the recapitulation on a page or pages in the back of the roll. The tax assessor shall add the recapitulation and show the total amount of all property assessed in his county and the total for each municipality, school district, road district, levee district or other special taxing district imposing an ad valorem tax. The assessor shall also show in his recapitulation the correct total of each and every column in the roll.

(2) The tax assessors shall include on the personal property roll the list of aircraft received from the State Tax Commission which are liable for registration but which have not been so registered as required by Title 61, Chapter 15, Mississippi Code of 1972.

SECTION 2. Section 27-35-50, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

27-35-50. (1) True value shall mean and include, but shall not be limited to, market value, cash value, actual cash value, proper value and value for the purposes of appraisal for ad valorem taxation.

(2) With respect to each and every parcel of property subject to assessment, the tax assessor shall, in ascertaining true value, consider whenever possible the income capitalization approach to value, the cost approach to value and the market data approach to value, as such approaches are determined by the State Tax Commission. For differing types of categories of property, differing approaches may be appropriate. The choice of the particular valuation approach or approaches to be used should be made by the assessor upon a consideration of the category or nature of the property, the approaches to value for which the highest quality data is available, and the current use of the property.

(3) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (4) of this section, in determining the true value of land and improvements thereon, factors to be taken into consideration are the proximity to navigation; to a highway; to a railroad; to a city, town, village or road; and any other circumstances that tend to affect its value, and not what it might bring at a forced sale but what the owner would be willing to accept and would expect to receive for it if he were disposed to sell it to another able and willing to buy.

(4) In arriving at the true value of all Class I and Class II property and improvements, the appraisal shall be made according to current use, regardless of location.

In arriving at the true value of any land used for agricultural purposes, the appraisal shall be made according to its current use, regardless of its location; in making the appraisal, the assessor shall use soil types, productivity and other criteria set forth in the land appraisal manuals of the State Tax Commission, which criteria shall include, but not be limited to, an income capitalization approach with a capitalization rate of not less than ten percent (10%) and a moving average of not more than ten (10) years. However, for the year 1990, the moving average shall not be more than five (5) years; for the year 1991, not more than six (6) years; for the year 1992, not more than seven (7) years; for the year 1993, not more than eight (8) years; and for the year 1994, not more than nine (9) years; and for the year 1990, the variation up or down from the previous year shall not exceed twenty percent (20%) and thereafter, the variation, up or down, from a previous year shall not exceed ten percent (10%). The land shall be deemed to be used for agricultural purposes when it is devoted to the commercial production of crops and other commercial products of the soil, including, but not limited to, the production of fruits and timber or the raising of livestock and poultry; provided, however, enrollment in the federal Conservation Reserve Program or in any other United States Department of Agriculture conservation program shall not preclude land being deemed to be used for agricultural purposes solely on the ground that the land is not being devoted to the production of commercial products of the soil, and income derived from participation in the federal program may be used in combination with other relevant criteria to determine the true value of such land.

In determining the true value based upon current use, no consideration shall be taken of the prospective value such property might have if it were put to some other possible use.

(5) The true value of each class of property shall be determined once every four (4) years.

(6) The State Tax Commission shall have the power to adopt, amend or repeal such rules or regulations in a manner consistent with the Constitution of the State of Mississippi to implement the duties assigned to the commission in this section.

SECTION 3. 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 * * * conduct, once every four (4) years, 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 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.