The Assessment Process


An Overview

The Pima County Assessor's Office is responsible for locating, listing, and valuing all of the properties under its jurisdiction that are to be listed on the assessment rolls. This includes both real and personal property.

The following steps describe the Assessment Process:

  1. Locate and identify all property in the county.
  2. List all properties, with a description of quantity, quality, and significant characteristics.
  3. Determine the full cash value of all taxable property.
  4. Calculate limited property value as defined by statute.
  5. Determine the use and legal class of taxable property.
  6. Calculate the assessed values as defined by statute.
  7. Maintain an up-to-date ownership list of all property.
  8. Notify property owners of the proposed full cash and limited property valuations.
  9. Maintain and apply exemption and senior property freeze applications.
  10. Prepare and convey the assessment roll to the board of supervisors.

The Assessor does not create the value. People create value by the decisions they make in the marketplace. The Assessor has the legal responsibility to study those transactions and appraise property accordingly: "Determine the full cash value of all such property as of January 1 of the next year by using the manuals furnished and procedures prescribed by the department." (A.R.S. § 42-13051)

Market fluctuations are reflected in full cash values which may go up or down. Analyzing data, establishing values, issuing notices to owners, and finalizing values after a review/appeal period takes time. It takes approximately four and a half years from the beginning of the data collection to the mailing of tax bills. The length of the process is dictated by both Arizona Revised Statutes and the Arizona Department of Revenue.

A frequent question is: Why doesn't the full cash value on the valuation notice reflect recent real estate prices? Two and a half years of sales data are typically analyzed to determine full cash values. To see year specific valuation timelines, please visit the Residential page and review the data under Notice Information.


More About Determining Full Cash Value

There are three methods of appraising or establishing the full cash value of property:

Market Approach
The Market Approach, also known as the sales comparison method, compares property to other similar properties that have sold. Our office uses the previous three years of sales for all properties for which the sales comparison approach can be utilized. Recent market transactions are analyzed for a given location and then property values are determined, based on those transactions. Sales prices determine values for individual characteristics (like a pool or a garage), which are then applied to all of the properties in that particular area.

Cost Approach
When there are not enough sales for a type of property to be properly valued using the Market Approach, there is the Cost Approach. In this approach, the replacement cost (minus depreciation) is determined based on how much it would take at today's material and labor costs to replace the existing structure. Then the value of the land is added to arrive at the value for the property. Some properties are valued statutorily or overridden based on market sales; some are modeled.

Income Approach
For rental and leasing property, the Income Approach is sometimes used. This method utilizes the capitalization of the property's net income to determine its value.

For a more detailed explanation of the valuation of various types of property, please view the information for each type.


Assessment Ratio and Assessed Value

In addition to determining the value, the Assessor must identify the appropriate legal class to be applied to the property. The legal class ratios are used to calculate the assessed values of the property. The following are the most common legal classes, property uses, and their assessment ratios:

Legal
Class

Property
Use

Tax
Year

Assessment
Ratio

1

Commercial and Industrial

Please consult these Arizona Revised Statutes: A.R.S. § 42-12001 and A.R.S. § 42-15001

2000 to 2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011 to 2012
2013
2014
2015

25.0%
24.5%
24.0%
23.0%
22.0%
21.0%
20.0%
19.5%
19.0%
18.5%

2

Vacant and all other property not included in other classifications

Please consult these Arizona Revised Statutes: A.R.S. § 42-12002 and A.R.S. § 42-15002

2000 - present

16.0%

3

Primary Residence not included in other classifications

Please consult these Arizona Revised Statutes: A.R.S. § 42-12003 and A.R.S. § 42-15003

2000 - present

10.0%

4

Non-Primary Residence not included in other classifications

Please consult these Arizona Revised Statutes A.R.S. § 42-12004 and A.R.S. § 42-15004 for a full description of this class.

2000 - present

10.0%

5

Railroads, private car companies and flight property

Please consult these Arizona Revised Statutes A.R.S. § 42-12005 and A.R.S. § 42-15005 for a full description of this class.

2001
2002 to 2003
2004 to 2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011 to 2013
2014

21.0%
20.0%
21.0%
22.0%
21.0%
20.0%
18.0%
17.0%
15.0%
16.0%

6

Non-commercial historic, foreign trade zone and enterprise zone

Please consult these Arizona Revised Statutes A.R.S. § 42-12006 and A.R.S. § 42-15006 for a full description of this class.

2000 - present

5.0%

7

Commercial historic base

Please consult these Arizona Revised Statutes A.R.S. § 42-12007 and A.R.S. § 42-15007 for a full description of this class.

2000 to 2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011 to 2012
2013
2014
2015

25.0%
24.5%
24.0%
23.0%
22.0%
21.0%
20.0%
19.5%
19.0%
18.5%

8

Residential/Commercial historic base

Please consult these Arizona Revised Statutes A.R.S. § 42-12008 and A.R.S. § 42-15008 for a full description of this class.

2000 - present

10.0%

9

Certain improvements on government property

Please consult these Arizona Revised Statutes A.R.S. § 42-12009 and A.R.S. § 42-15009 for a full description of this class.

2000 - present

1.0%

The assessed value is derived by multiplying the full cash value and the limited value by the assessment ratio. Beginning in tax year 2015, the assessed value is derived by multiplying the limited value by the assessment ratio only.


Notification and Appeals

The Assessor is required to notify the owner of record with a Notice of Valuation on or before March 1. This is sent via mail to the last known address. If the property owner feels that their property has been improperly valued or erroneously listed, they may petition the Assessor for review of the property. This must be done within 60 days of the notice date, found on the front of the notice. More information on this can be found on the Appeals Process page.


The Assessment Roll

Once a year, the Assessor prepares the assessment roll for conveyance to the Pima County Board of Supervisors. The board prepares the abstracts of value. These abstracts are sent to the various taxing jurisdictions and the Arizona Department of Revenue. The finance departments of the jurisdictions use the abstracts (along with the jurisdiction's budget) to determine their tax rate.

On the third Monday in August, the board of supervisors approves the tax rates sent from the taxing jurisdictions. Then the board orders the clerk to "extend" the roll, thus transforming the assessment roll into the tax roll. The tax roll will be used to create the tax bills. Afterward, the tax roll is conveyed to the Pima County Treasurer for collection.


Summary

The statutes and reference to the Arizona Constitution above are shown as examples of the points listed. To review all the laws and regulations governing the assessment process in detail, please consult:

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