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Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question to view the corresponding answer.
What are the duties of the Assessor function of the Assessor/Register of Deeds' office?
The County Assessor/Register of Deeds is an elected official who is responsible for identifying, locating, and fairly valuing all property, both real and personal, within the county. The Assessor/Register of Deeds' office does not levy taxes and does not create the market value of your property. People create the value by buying and selling real estate in Douglas County. A partial list of Assessor duties established by Nebraska law:
- Administer the assessment statutes of state law.
- Establish and maintain fair and equitable value on all real and personal property within the county.
- Attend all meetings of the County Board of Equalization.
- Review all applications for religious, charitable and educational tax exemptions.
- Maintain cadastral records (i.e. parcel maps) on all property in the county.
- Maintain property characteristic records for all real estate parcels in the county.
- Prepare abstract of value and certification of taxes levied for the State Property Tax Administrator.
When are properties valued?
All properties are valued as of the assessment date of January 1 each year.
How are properties valued?
The Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds values all taxable real estate parcels in the county. The Assessor/Register of Deeds' office uses acceptable appraisal methods and standards to arrive at estimates of market value: the cost approach, sales comparison approach, and/or the income approach. By law, residential and commercial properties must be valued at actual (market) value, the likely price a property would sell for in the current real estate market. The real estate market is not a perfect market like the stock market. Therefore, the acceptable ranges for commercial and residential properties countywide is 92 -100%. This year both commercial and residential properties are at 96%. This does not mean a property owner can simply protest that an assessment be 96% of the purchase price.
Why did my value change?
Property values can change for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
- Fluctuations in current market trends and conditions.
- Addition of new improvements.
- Remodel or rehabilitation of existing improvements.
- Destruction or removal of improvements.
- Positive or adverse outside influences upon the property.
- An order for value increases mandated by State Government.
How are taxes calculated?
The County Assessor/Register of Deeds is not responsible for establishing the tax rate. Tax rates are set as a result of budgeting done by each local government unit with taxing authority. These include school districts, community colleges, city and county governments, natural resource districts and other local authorities. All these budget requirements are totaled and the amount is divided by the total assessed value of property for that government subdivision to establish its tax rate. Rates are stated as a percent or amount due for each $100 of assessed value. The Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds does not determine the amount of taxes collected, but is responsible for finding the fair value for your property, so that you and your neighbors only pay your fair share toward needed services like educating our children and protecting us from crime.
What should I do if I do not agree with the valuation of my property?
If you disagree with your property's valuation during any tax year, you may file a Property Valuation Protest with the Douglas County Board of Equalization (BOE). Forms are available in the office of the Douglas County Clerk or can be downloaded from the BOE website. The Property Valuation Protest form can be filed between June 1 and June 30. If you are dissatisfied with the BOE‘s decision, you may appeal that decision to the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC).
What is "real property?"
Real property includes all lots and land, buildings, fixtures and improvements and mobile homes that are used for residential, office, commercial or agricultural purposes.
How do I change the mailing address for my property?
The mailing address on your property record will determine where your valuation notices and tax statements are sent. The Assessor/Register of Deeds' office is now responsible for mailing address changes. To request such a change, call (402) 444-7060 and choose the prompt for real estate records, or email us here. If you email a request for an address change, include:
- The name that is currently on the property record
- The parcel number
- The current mailing address
- The new mailing address
- Your phone number
What is taxable business "personal property?"
Personal property is defined as tangible, depreciable income producing property including machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures.
A Nebraska personal property tax return must be filed by:
- Anyone who owns or holds any taxable, tangible personal property on January 1, 12:01 a.m. of each year.
- Anyone who leases personal property to another person.
- Anyone who leases personal property from another person.
What is a "homestead exemption?"
A homestead exemption provides relief from property taxes by exempting all or a portion of the valuation of a home from taxation. The State of Nebraska reimburses the counties and other government subdivisions for the taxes lost due to homestead exemptions.
Homestead applications must be made annually after February 1 and before July 20th. Assessor/Register of Deeds staff and volunteers will visit various homestead assistance remote sites throughout the county each year on specific dates and times during April, May and June.
What is a permissive exemption?
An organization which is the owner of real or tangible personal property, or licensed motor vehicles, and is seeking a property tax exemption may file for an exemption if:
- The property is owned by and used exclusively for agricultural or horticultural societies; or,
- The property is:
- Owned by educational, religious, charitable or cemetery organizations;
- Used exclusively for educational, religious, charitable or cemetery purposes;
- Not owned or used for financial gain or profit to either the owner or user;
- Not used for the sale of alcoholic beverages for more than 20 hours per week; and
- Not owned or used by an organization which discriminates in membership or employment based on race, color or national origin.
Important: When an organization acquires or converts property to exempt use after January 1 but on or before July 1 of that year, the organization must file an Exemption Application with the Assessor/Register of Deeds, on or before July 1.
How is agricultural land valued?
The theory of valuation for agricultural or horticultural land is no different than any other property. But the Nebraska Constitution allows that agricultural and horticultural land may be valued lower than 100 percent of market value. State statute currently mandates agricultural or horticultural land must be assessed at 75 percent of its fair market value.
What is a "Greenbelt?"
Greenbelt, more formally known as Special Valuation, is defined as agricultural land which may be valued without regard to market influences that cause the value to be inflated to an amount exceeding its agricultural value. This procedure allows property owners who wish to continue the agribusiness nature of their property to do so without the value of their property being inflated by residential or commercial development.
What is Form 191?
Under a law enacted by the 2014 Nebraska Unicameral, all vacant land will be valued at market value. That means if lots are selling for $50,000 in a subdivision, all other lots for sale in the same subdivision will be assessed for tax purposes at $50,000.
The owner of two or more vacant or unimproved lots that are being held for sale or resale, may elect to have the lots treated as one parcel for property assessment and property tax purposes. When treated in bulk, the sum assessed value may be lower than the sum of the market values. These lots must be in the same subdivision and in the same tax district.
An election for treatment as one parcel must be made annually by filing a Form 191 with the County Assessor/Register of Deeds by December 31 immediately preceding the year for which the election to treat the vacant or unimproved lots as one parcel is sought.
For lots covered by this application, the Count Assessor/Register of Deeds must use the income approach, including the use of a discounted cash-flow analysis.