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.

Understanding Your Assessment

To assist members in providing information about the assessment process, IAAO has developed a public information brochure, "Understanding Your Assessment", explaining how the value of property is estimated and what causes it to change. Copies of the brochure are available to purchase online in quantities of 50 at $17 per each 50. For a free sample of this brochure, please send your mailing address to Shawn Lee House ( with UYA Sample in the subject line. A sample brochure will be mailed to you. To purchase these brochures you will need to create an account for NextPage Studios who will handle the fulfillment of your online order.

For the Property Owner Who Wants to Know 

The brochure below, "For the Property Owner Who Wants to Know", can be posted to your website and they can be printed for distribution to taxpayers who visit your office. Contact for more information on this member benefit.

Provides a general overview of property tax systems and how they work.