General Assessment FAQs

What is an assessment?

An assessment is the value of property used to calculate your property taxes. After estimating the market value of property, the assessor multiplies the market value times a factor (how the factors differ depend on local laws). The result is the assessment.

What is the role of the assessor?

The assessor is responsible for estimating the value of property, which determines assessed valuation. The assessor does not determine property taxes. Instead, the assessed valuation determines the overall share of taxes to be paid. Because assessment affects property taxes, it is important that assessed value be accurate and fair.

Why have a property tax?

The property tax is an important part of any well-balanced revenue system for a community. Property taxes fund such things as schools, fire and police protection, streets, libraries and other public benefits. The property tax allows these services to be funded in proportion to the amount of money individual properties are worth. The property tax is also a more stable source of money compared to sales and income taxes because it does not fluctuate when communities have recessions or for other reasons an individual's income might fluctuate. In general, when a community spends more tax dollars on better schools, parks, streets and other public benefits and services, the property values rise and community members will ultimately benefit.

Public Service Resources

IAAO is committed to providing information that allows taxpayers to better understand what the property tax is and how it is used. The association supports property tax systems that are fair and equitable and that accurately reflect each taxpayer's obligation to support public services that are funded in this way.

IAAO also encourages taxpayers to fully understand their role in supporting local services such as school funding, police and fire protection, streets, libraries, and other public benefits, through the property tax.

Two public service brochures are available to support these goals. The files may be downloaded for personal use.

For IAAO Members

These brochures can be personalized by IAAO with your office contact information and redistributed to taxpayers within your jurisdiction. The brochures can be posted to your website and can be printed for distribution to taxpayers who visit your office. Contact IAAO for more information on this member benefit.

Understanding Your Assessment
Provides information that explains the assessment process.

For the Property Owner Who Wants to Know
Provides a general overview of property tax systems and how they work.