Assessor FAQ

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  • Estimates Value: The law specifically requires that assessors view each parcel of real estate to appraise its market value. Property values change continuously with changing economic conditions. In addition to market changes, numerous physical changes affect the value of land and buildings. All factors that may influence value must be considered when estimating the value of property. This task requires a physical inspection of all property subject to assessment.
  • Classifies Property: The assessor also determines the classification or use of each parcel. For instance, property may be Residential Homestead (owner-occupied), Relative Residential Homestead (relative of owner is occupant), Residential Non-Homestead, Agricultural, or Commercial/Industrial. Each classification is taxed and receives credits at a different percentage of market value. These percentages are set by the state legislature.
  • Accepts Applications for Property Tax Credits: The Minnesota property tax law provides certain credits or forms of special tax relief, one of the more common being the Homestead Credit. Applications for Homestead-Classification; Application for Tax Exemption; Application for Agricultural Tax and Special Assessment Deferment; Applications for Special Disability Classification are among programs of interest to property owners. Please call the Assessor’s Office at 320-634-7715 if you think you may qualify.

In Minnesota, property taxes provide most of the funding for local government services.  Each property's share of the property tax burden is determined according to its VALUE and USE.  The Assessor's Office collects, tabulates and updates property data annually for further county calculations.  The dollar amount required to cover operating expenses of local governments is levied by each township, city, school district or county to pay for services required by local citizens.  This translates into an annual property tax bill due and payable for each individual property.

Minnesota Statute 272.03 defines "market value" as "the usual selling price... at the time of assessment." It is "the price that could be obtained at a private sale or an auction sale, if the assessor determines that the price from an auction sale represents an arms-length transaction. The price obtained at a forced sale shall not be considered." In other words, market value is the most probable price that would prevail under competitive, open-market conditions.

State law requires that the value and classification of real estate be established as of January 2 each year. The Assessor’s Office works throughout the year to estimate the market value of each property for the following January 2 assessment date.

  • Views Property: Approximately every 5th year, an appraiser will view the property. In addition, all new construction, alterations or improvements will be viewed in the current year.
  • Gathers Information: The appraiser gathers information on all characteristics of the property that affect market value, such as size, age, quality, basement finish, and also extra features such as fireplaces, extra baths, walkouts, etc.
  • Estimates Value: The property characteristics are entered into a computerized system. The computer aids the appraiser in estimating the property value. Information from actual sales is used to update the computer model and set the table schedules which are used to update your market value. The market value estimated by the assessor should be at, or very close to, the amount the property would sell for if placed on the open market. The State Board of Equalization requires the overall level of assessment to be between 90% and 105% of market value.
  • Notification: A value notice is mailed each spring to every property owner in Pope County. The assessment on January 2 forms the basis for the following year’s real estate taxes. That is, the value and classification set by the Assessor on January 2, 2018, is used to calculate the taxes payable in the year 2019.

State statute requires the assessor to physically review 20% of all property each year.  This results in the assessor visiting your neighborhood every five years.  The assessor is verifying that the currently existing information is accurate, and checking for any changes that may have been made to the property.  Having accurate property information is critical when valuing and classifying property and contributes to a fair and equitable assessment for everybody.

All real property subject to taxation shall be listed and at least one-fifth of the parcels listed shall be appraised each year with reference to their value on January 2 preceding the assessment so that each parcel shall be reappraised at maximum intervals of five years. All real property becoming taxable in any year shall be listed with reference to its value on January 2 of that year. Except as provided in this section and section 274.01, subdivision 1, all real property assessments shall be completed two weeks prior to the date scheduled for the local board of review or equalization. No changes in valuation or classification which are intended to correct errors in judgment by the county assessor may be made by the county assessor after the board of review or the county board of equalization has adjourned; however, corrections of errors for real or personal property that are merely clerical in nature or changes that extend homestead treatment to property are permitted after adjournment until the tax extension date for that assessment year. Any changes made by the assessor after adjournment must be fully documented and maintained in a file in the assessor's office and shall be available for review by any person. A copy of any changes made during this period shall be sent to the county board no later than December 31 of the assessment year. In the event a valuation and classification is not placed on any real property by the dates scheduled for the local board of review or equalization the valuation and classification determined in the preceding assessment shall be continued in effect and the provisions of section 273.13 shall, in such case, not be applicable, except with respect to real estate which has been constructed since the previous assessment. Real property containing iron ore, the fee to which is owned by the state of Minnesota, shall, if leased by the state after January 2 in any year, be subject to assessment for that year on the value of any iron ore removed under said lease prior to January 2 of the following year. Personal property subject to taxation shall be listed and assessed annually with reference to its value on January 2; and, if acquired on that day, shall be listed by or for the person acquiring it

It is your right to decline an interior inspection. The assessor will then make reasonable estimations regarding the property’s interior finish and quality. If you disagree with the resulting valuation the local board of review is not allowed to make any changes in your favor until you allow the assessor to inspect the property. See below Minnesota Statute 273.20 and Minnesota Statute 274.01, for more information.

Any officer authorized by law to assess property for taxation may, when necessary to the proper performance of their duties, enter any dwelling, house, building, or structure and view the same and the property therein. Any officer authorized by law to assess property for ad valorem tax purposes shall have reasonable access to land and structures as necessary for the proper performance of their duties. A property owner may refuse to allow an assessor to inspect their property. This refusal by the property owner must be either verbal or expressly stated in a letter to the county assessor. If the assessor is denied access to view a property, the assessor is authorized to estimate the property's estimated market value by making assumptions believed appropriate concerning the property's finish and condition.

  • 274.01 BOARD OF APPEAL AND EQUALIZATION.
    (b) The board may not make an individual market value adjustment or classification change that would benefit the property if the owner or other person having control over the property has refused the assessor access to inspect the property and the interior of any buildings or structures as provided in section 273.20 

Yes.  The assessor keeps records on the physical characteristics of each property in the County.  Even though the assessor may have been unable to go through your property, the Estimated Market Value will still be reviewed annually based on the existing records and/or sales of similar property.

You are encouraged to first contact your Assessor's Office and discuss the assessment with the appraiser for your property.  You have the right to appeal the estimated market value.  The methods of appeal are detailed on the back page of your estimated market valuation notice also known as your Valuation and Classification notice that is mailed to all property owners around March.  The times to appeal are limited generally to the "Boards of Appeal" in April.

Property values are based on the typical sales prices which fluctuate with general market conditions such as the general economy, property locations, supply and demand, demographic changes, and changes in tax laws.  Per Minnesota state laws, as property values change in the market place, those changes must be reflected in the assessor's Estimated Market Values.

There are a number of items that affect your property taxes.  The following are those that traditionally have had the largest impacts:

  • Changes to the tax levy (amount of money requested by taxing jurisdictions for operations) made by the city, county, school district or special taxing districts.
  • Changes to the market value estimate of your property.
  • Changes in the market values for the area or a particular type of property.
  • Legislative changes to the property classification rates, state aid formulas and other tax laws.
  • Legislative unfunded mandates (usually seen as an increase in local government tax levy).
  • New taxes approved by referendum.

Generally speaking, improvements that increase the market value of a property will increase the assessor's Estimated Market Value.

Yes, however depending on the extent of the damage and when it is repaired, you may or may not see a value/tax change.  (Remember, the assessment is based "as of January 2" of each year.)

The reason lakeshore property usually pays more taxes than a similar property not on the lake is due to the value of the lakeshore frontage. Property taxes are based partially on value; and the higher the value, the higher the tax. Sales prove that lakeshore in most cases is much more valuable than other land types. Each lake has its land valued according to the price buyers will pay which varies greatly from one lake to another, depending on the popularity of the lake. Other factors such as school district and township or city tax rates will affect the level of taxes from one property to another. When comparing value or taxes, always make sure you are comparing comparable properties in an area of similar tax rates.

The applicable check box will have been completed by the assessor, regarding why they were at your residence.

  • To complete the required physical review of your property. (Minnesota Statute 273.01)
  • To review new construction.
  • If you had an appointment set up with the assessor, but you were not at your residence.

Please contact our office at 320-634-7715, to speak to the assessor for your area, in regards to the tag.

You may also fill out our online self-reporting form, if you are unable to speak to an assessor during normal business hours, which are Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

To qualify, you must:

  • Occupy the property listed on the application as your primary residence;
  • Be one of the owners of the property listed on the application, or a qualifying relative;
  • Be a Minnesota resident.

You are considered a Minnesota resident if all or some of the following conditions apply to you:

  • You are registered to vote in Minnesota
  • You have a valid Minnesota driver's license
  • You file a Minnesota income tax return
  • You list a property in Minnesota as your permanent mailing address
  • You are employed by a business located in Minnesota
  • Your children, if any, attend school in Minnesota, and/or
  • You are not a resident of any other state or country

The homestead classification applies to properties occupied as primary residence by their owners or a qualifying relative. Classification as homestead may qualify the property for a reduced classification rate, reduced taxable market value, property tax refund, and/or special program eligibility.

State law (MS 273.124, Subd. 9 & 13) requires that the Social Security numbers and signatures of each occupant who is listed as an owner of the property be listed on the application. If the owner's spouse is not listed as an owner of the property, the social security number of the owner's spouse must also be furnished.

An Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN) can only be used in situations where one spouse has a Social Security number and the other spouse does not. ITINs are not an acceptable alternative to Social Security numbers in any other case.

You may refuse to provide this information, but refusal will disqualify you from receiving homestead classification.

Social Security numbers are confidential information. Under state law (MS 273.124, Subd. 13) they may be given by your County Assessor to the Minnesota Department of Revenue to determine whether you or the owner of the property to whom you are related have applied for the homestead classification for other properties.

A property owner who obtains or attempts to obtain homestead classification for a property other than his or her primary place of residence or the primary place of residence of his or her relative is under state law subject to a fine of up to $3,000 and/or up to one year of imprisonment (MS 609.41). In addition, the property owner will be required to pay all tax which is due on the property based on its correct property class plus a penalty equal to the difference between the tax based on the homestead classification and that based on the property's correct class (MS 273.124, Subd. 13).