There are several factors that could cause an increase/decrease in taxes. The appraiser makes an on-site inspection of the subject property. If a new structure exists, the appraiser measures and lists construction details of the new building, according to the guidelines as listed in the 2015 Alabama Department of Revenue Appraisal Manual.
Act 160 of The Code of Alabama (1975) created the Statewide Property Reappraisal Program and made the Alabama Department of Revenue responsible for the supervision and implementation of statewide reappraisal. This was done in response to a federal court order to equalize values in Alabama. The market is analyzed annually and full reappraisals are completed every 4 years using mass appraisal techniques involving multiple statistical studies. 25% of the county is physically reviewed per year during this 4 year cycle. During this review, the appraiser notes changes to pre-existing structures and measures any additions accordingly.
The Revenue Office field appraisers are responsible for determining property value which must, by law, be set according to “Fair Market Value.” While your property may not be for sale, the local appraiser must set the value of the property as if it were “sold” in an “arms length” transaction between a “willing buyer and a willing seller,” neither being under any pressure to buy or sell.
Each year, the state compiles information to determine whether the appraised values established (using the county land valuation schedules and the construction cost index) are representative of the current local real estate market. If the results of the study are outside of the established compliance parameters (98% to 102%), then, a county will be required to establish a new land valuation schedule and construction cost index as the basis for a new four year equalization cycle. The index brings the properties’ appraised values in line with the indicated current market values.
A tax rate (millage) change would cause taxes to change. This would have to come from a vote of the citizens or by the taxing authority (County Commission) to increase (or decrease) the millage rate if approved by the Alabama State Legislature.