Frequently Asked Questions

Functions of the Office of the County Assessors

The Office of the County Assessor is the mechanism that is used by the property tax program to distribute the tax burden approved by taxing authorities correctly and equitably to all taxable property in that authority based on its value. That is why it is imperative that the Office of the County Assessor be funded and equipped appropriately to accomplish this ethical and equitable mandate.

The Assessor: Accepts and processes reports from property owner (7-38-8) discovers, lists, and values residential, commercial, vacant, and business personal property for ad valorum (based on value) tax purposes. Notifies property owners of their assessed property values. Defends the value placed on taxable property before the Protest Board, District Court and other quasi-judicial bodies. Prepares the property tax roll for the County Treasurer. The Office of the County Assessor also performs all of the administrative and supportive duties that must be achieved to accomplish our overall mission.

No. The County Commission has no superintending authority over the Assessor. Only the Taxation and Revenue Department may generally direct the Assessor's activities, but the County Commission does have authority and are required to appropriate a reasonable budget for the Office of the County Assessor to comply with the statutory mandates.

The Office of the Santa Fe County Assessor is evaluated yearly by the Taxation and Revenue Department and audited annually by the County's outside independent auditor. The County Assessor's functions may be suspended in part or in whole by the Taxation and Revenue Department for non-compliance with the Property Tax Code.

No all taxable property must be valued in compliance with the property tax code and the professional mass appraisal standards. The Assessor and all employees are subject to disciplinary action, job loss and criminal prosecution for unlawfully altering any value. The property owner is also subject to criminal prosecution for knowingly attempting to avoid the payment of the Property Tax. All values that are lowered are audited and must have evidence and supporting documentation that support the new lower value.

Land Splits and Combinations

Yes taxes owing on the property in question must be paid in full before the Treasurer's office will sign a County Certification of Taxes Paid.

Under 7-37-7 NMSA 1978, the owner of record on January 1 of each tax year is responsible for taxes assessed for that tax year. A tax l lien is attached to the property upon failure to pay taxes, irrespective of ownership changes made after January 1 of each year.

Valuation of Property

New Mexico State Statutes 7-38-8 NMSA 1978 require owners of real property, tangible movable business property, and/or manufactured homes to report new purchases and declare any change their property has undergone within the past year. The due date for the report is the last day in February of the year for which taxes are collected.

For residential properties the property owner is also required to file with the Office of the County Assessor the sales affidavit of the newly acquired property. Do not rely on your Title Company or the County Clerk to forward this information to the Office of the County Assessor it is your responsibility.

The Assessor is required by state law to first of all value all property at 100 percent of its market value as determined by sales of comparable property. (See 7-36-15 NMSA 1978).

Yes. As a property owner in New Mexico you have the responsibility to report your property to the Office of the County Assessor when you become the owner (7-38-8). You will also be required to submit the purchase price of the residence you purchase to the Office of the County Assessor thru an affidavit. Do not rely on title companies and other third party's to make these reports to the Office of the County Assessor for you. This will ensure that all Notices of Value and Tax Bills are sent to the correct address so that you may challenge your value and pay your taxes on time. Remember however that if you become the new owner of a pre-existing residence the value of your property for that year will not be subject to the value cap (discussed later) and the Assessor is obligated by statute to appraise it at current and correct market levels which could be a substantial increase in value from previous years.

The Notice of Value is mailed to you in April and it identifies your property, its ownership and class of property such as residential, commercial, vacant and so on. Most importantly it also indicates the value that the Office of the County Assessor has determined for property tax purposes. It also includes the adjusted value as dictated by the value cap law for residential properties as well as any exemption, deduction or value freeze you have applied for and have been granted. If you believe any of this information is incorrect you must report it to the Office of the County Assessor and perhaps file a timely protest if need be within 30 days of the mailing of the Notice of Value. If you do not receive a notice of value you must also report that to the Office of the County Assessor by reporting your property.

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