Process for Assessing Real Property in Kentucky
In Kentucky, all real property is assessed by a locally elected official known as a property valuation administrator (PVA). PVAs are required by Kentucky’s Constitution to assess all real property at its estimated fair cash value. This value is estimated by what the property would bring at a fair voluntary sale. Farm land is allowed to be assessed at its agricultural value rather than its fair cash value.
PVAs are required to physically inspect all parcels in the county no less than once every four years. They are also required to add all newly constructed property to the tax roll each year.
When a PVA increases a property’s assessment, a notice is required to be sent to the property owner informing them of the new assessment. The notice will also inform the property owner of the timeframe an appeal can be filed. This time period is known as the tax roll inspection period.
The tax roll inspection period is scheduled to begin on the first Monday in May and runs Monday through Saturday for two weeks and concludes on the third Monday in May. Circumstances can cause the inspection period to be delayed and the alternative schedule will be advertised in the local newspaper and detailed on the assessment notice received.
Real Property Assessment Appeal Process
If the property owner disagrees with the new assessed value there is an established process to file an appeal. During the tax roll inspection period, the property owner must first schedule a conference with the PVA or a designated deputy to discuss the new assessment. If an agreement can be reached, then nothing further needs to be done and the agreed upon assessment will be the basis for the property tax bill that will be received in the fall. If no agreement is reached, then the property owner is eligible to file an appeal in the county clerk’s office no later than one workday following the close of the tax roll inspection period. For example, if the tax roll inspection period runs from May 6th through May 20th, a taxpayer who has had a conference with the PVA has until May 21st to file an appeal in the county clerk’s office. When filing an appeal the taxpayer must provide his or her claim of value for the property in question.
All assessment appeals are heard by a three member panel known as the local board of assessment appeals. The members of the board are appointed by the mayor of the largest city in the county, the fiscal court and the county judge executive. All members are required to be knowledgeable of property values in the county.
The board of assessment appeals is scheduled to convene between 25 and 35 calendar days after the close of the tax roll inspection period. The county clerk will notify the property owner of the specific date and time the appeal hearing has been scheduled.
At the appeal hearing, the property owner will be expected to provide factual information to support his or her claim of value for the property. If no information is provided, the local board of assessment appeals is required to deny the appeal. The PVA must also present evidence to support the assessed value. The property owner will be notified by certified mail of the decision of the local board. This notification will also include instructions on how to appeal to the Kentucky Claims Commission if the property owner remains dissatisfied with the assessed value.
The Kentucky Claims Commission has information on the appeals process before that board.
Property Tax Bill Payment Schedule
In Kentucky, property tax bills are mailed out in the fall by the sheriff and are collected in that office. A typical collection schedule is as follows:
- October 1 – November 1
- Bill can be paid with a 2% discount
- November 2 – December 31
- Bill is paid at its face amount
- January 1 – January 31
- A 5% penalty is added
- February 1 – April 15
- A 21% penalty is added
If an alternative schedule must be followed, then 30 days is allowed for each phase of the collection schedule.
At the close of business on April 15th, the tax bills are transferred from the sheriff’s office to the county clerk’s office. They are then known as a certificate of delinquency and represent a lien against the property in question. Interest begins to accrue on the total due at the rate of 1% per month. A 10% county clerk fee and a 20% county attorney fee are also added to the total due. The county attorney is required to send a notice by May 15th to the delinquent taxpayers and, if necessary, another notice is sent by June 15th. Delinquent taxpayers can enter into installment payment plans with the county attorney at this time.
Beginning in mid-July, county clerks offer the certificates of delinquency for sale to third party purchasers. These sales run through the latter part of October with the majority of sales taking place from mid-July through the end of August. The specifics about each county’s sale, along with a listing of each certificate of delinquency, are required to be advertised in the local newspaper at least 30 days prior to the tax sale date. The certificates of delinquency are also listed on the county clerk’s website at least 30 days prior to the sale.
If a certificate of delinquency is sold to a third party purchaser, the property owner must then work with the third party to arrange for payment of the delinquency. There will be substantial additional fees that will be applied to the total due by the third party purchaser. An installment payment plan can be requested of a third party purchaser.