The Siskiyou County Assessor is responsible for an annual assessment roll of approximately 57,000 accounts with a value of $4.33 billion. The Assessor's workload includes 7,200 appraisals for change in ownership, new construction, and Proposition 8 reviews; and the valuation of approximately 10,000 agricultural, commercial, industrial, mineral, personal property, possessory interest, and timber accounts. The Assessor is also responsible for the proper application of nearly 10,500 homeowner exemptions with a value of over $71.5 million; and approximately 2,000 other exemptions (welfare, religious, disabled veteran, low-value, etc.) with a value of nearly $200 million.
The property tax is the single most important source of revenue for local government in California. It is also one of the most difficult taxes to administer because of its inherent complexity and the numerous changes that have been made to the original ad valorem concept. An already complicated system has been made more complicated by the passage of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution (Proposition 13) and its implementing legislation, court decisions regarding taxable values, and the passage of supplemental roll legislation in 1983.
In addition to its complexity, the property tax is the most visible of all state and local taxes; visible to those who pay the property tax and to all levels of government that are dependent upon it. This visibility and the continued importance of this tax require that good assessment practices, efficient administration, and total conformity with the law be achieved by the Assessor. To that end, the Assessor has adopted the "Mission Statement" and "Goals" as set forth as follows.
The dual mission of the Office of the Siskiyou County Assessor is as follows:
- To provide informative and responsive services to the public.
To provide fair, uniform assessments with quality and efficiency.
The Assessor has established the following goals to insure that this mission is carried out:
- To be dedicated to leadership in the field of taxpayer services and taxpayer information;
- To be dedicated to leadership in the field of assessment administration;
- To improve services and increase productivity;
- To develop and maintain an effective communication system;
- To maintain a professional and knowledgeable staff; and
- To promote a cohesive, unified organization.
As mandated by the California State Constitution, the Assessor:
- Locates and identifies all taxable property in the County
- Establishes taxable value for all property subject to property taxation
- Completes the assessment roll showing the assessed values of all properties
- Applies all legal exemptions
To establish the fair market value of property, the Assessor needs to know the physical characteristics of the property, its purchase price, the selling price of similar properties, the replacement cost, operating and repair costs of similar properties, income the property may generate, and other relevant facts affecting the property’s value.
The Assessor does not: Create value, decide how much tax is to be paid, or establish tax rates.