Revenue Commissioner & Mapping/Appraisal

Contact Information
Phone: (334) 428-2540
Contacts:
Janice Hart
Location

Address:

Covington County Revenue Commissioner 
1 Court Square
Andalusia, AL 36420

Location:

Covington County Courthouse 
Andalusia, AL 36420

Information

The employees of the Revenue Copmmissioner's and the Mapping and Appraisal Office strive to serve the citizens of Coviington County in a proficient and courteous manner. For all the hard work and dedication, I thank each and every employee.

The Revenue is a publicly elected representative of the people, responsible for the just administration of ad valorem taxes levied by the government.

If my office can assist you in any way, please call.

Thank you,

Janice D. Hart
Revenue Commissioner
Covington County, Alabama

Property Tax

Property (Ad Valorem) taxes are taxes on real and/or personal property. Real proeprty includes land and improvements. Personal property refers to items that are movable or not permanently fixed to the land.

The Revenue Commissioner is responsible for determining property value that must, by law, be set according to "fair and reasonable market value." Your property isprobably not for sale but the local appraiser must set the value of the property as if it were "sold" in an "arms length" transaction between a"willing buyer and a willing seller" with neither being under any pressure to buy or sell.

Property Classification

Property in Alabama is classified as:

Class I       Utility                                         30%
Class II      All Other Property                        20%
Class III     Farm Property and Owner             10%
                 Occupied Residential Property
Class IV      Motor Vehicle                              15%

To determine the assessed value, multiply the appraised value of the property by the proper classification.

Taxes are based on assessed value less exemptions you may be qualified for. For example, if eligible, homestead exemptions may be applied before December 31 of each year.

Homestead Exemption

A property owner may be entitled to a homestead exemption if he/she owns a singl-family residence and occupies it in the first day of the tax year for which theyare applying. There are four types of homestead exemptions:

     1.   Regular Homestead is available to all citizens of Alabama who 
           own and occupy single-family residences, including mobile
           homes, as their home and use this property for no other
           purpose. The amount of the exemption is $4,000 for State
           taxes and $2,000 for County taxes.

     2.   Homestead Exemption 2 (Act 91) is for persons over the age of
           65 whose adjusted gross income is less than $12,000 per year.
           This exemption is for all State and County taxes up to $5,000 is
           assessed value. Citizens who are blind, or ae permanently and
           totally disabled are also entitled to this exemption.

     3.   Homestead Exemption 3 (Act 48) is for persons over age 65 of
           who are totally disabled. This exemption is from all property
           taxes if their taxable income is less than $7,500 per year.

     4.   Homestead Exemption 4 is for persons over age 65, regardless
           of their income. This exemption is for the total assessed value
           of State tax and up to $2,000 of County tax.

Proof of age, when required, may be established by a driver's license, birth certificate, insurance forms, church records, school records, etc.

Proof of disability may be established by furnishing a statement from tow different sources as to your total disability (Homestead#3), or total and permanent disability (Homestead #2). Physician's letters, veteran's administration and retirement letters are all acceptable (must be worded as applied for).

Exemptions should be applied for before December 31st of each year based upon status (owner occupied, age 65, totally disabled,or totally and permanently disabled) of property owner and claimant before October 1st. In October, relaim forms are mailed to property owners who have qualified before, allowing for the claims to be renewed by mail.

Assessment of Property

Each taxpayer is required by Alabama Law (CodeS40-7-1) to provide a complete list of all property that is owned. The person acquiring property is responsible for reporting to the Revenue Commissioner a complete legal description of the property and should, at that time, claim any exemptions for which he/she is eligible. The Revenue Commissioner should be furnished with a correct mailing address for all property owners. The property owner must report any changes in ownership to the Revenue Commissioner. All assessment and bills are based upon ownership and status as of October 1st of each year.

Property Appraisal

Covington County has 29,325 separate parcels of land that must be individually appraised for tax purposes. Each parcel of land must be described on a property record card with characteristics about land and buildings listed and valued separately. This becomes the basis for establishing fair market value. This information may be found the Revenue Commissioner's Office.

The Revenue Commissioner notifies the property owner and is responsible for collecting the appropriate tax for each tax parcel of land.

Covington County Millage Rate for Tax Year 2006 and Greater

Your tax bill is based on millage rates applied for the following purposes:

   State General Fund                      2.5 Mills
   State Soldier Fund                       1.0 Mills
   State School Fund                        3.0 Mills

   County General Fund                    5.0 Mills
   County Road & Bridge Fund           2.5 Mills
   County Fire Protection                   3.0 Mills

   School District Tax                        3.0 Mills
   County-Wide School Tax               4.0 Mills

   Total State, COunty & School Tax   24 Mills

Additional millage is collected for the following municipalities:

   City of Andalusia                           15 Mills
   City of Opp                                   15 Mills
   City of Florala                                10 Mills
   Town of Red Level                         7.5 Mills
   Town of Lockhart                            10 Mills
   Town of River Falls                           5 Mills

The amount of taxes to be paid is determined by multiplying the appropriate millage by assessed value, less the proper exemptions. The County Commission or other taxing agencies set millage rates in response to the needs of the county, and the needs of others who receive property tax revenues.

A Mill is one-tenth of one cent (.001). You may calculate your total tax bill by adding all the appropriate millage rates together and multiplying that by assessed value.

What to do when you buy property

1)  Record your deed in the Probate Office.

2)  Assess the property in the Revenue Commissioner's Office.

3)  Claim any exception you are due.

4)  You must record your deed and file information with the Revenue
     Commissioner prior to December 31st for all property purchased on
     or before October 1st in order to receive a tax bill in your name for
     the next year.

5)  If your mortgage company has agreed to pay your property taxes,
     they should request a bill prior to October 1st.

6)  Report all address changes promptly.

7)  The final responsibility is still yours, as a new owner, to see that all
     necessary steps have been completed.

What to do if you add or remove improvements

The law requires that owners, or their agent, must come to the Revenue Commissioner's Office no later than December 31st to sign a new assessment officially reporting any improvements made or removal of structures or features from their properties completed on or before Octber 1st of that year.

Examples of improvements that are assessable would inclued new structures or additions, swimming pools, extensive repairs, remodeling or renovations, adding a fireplace, extra bath, patio, deck, carport, garage, etc. However, such things as roofing, minor repairs and painting (normal maintenance items) do not require a reassessment.

Generally speaking, any work done that would more than nominally increase the value of a property would constitute as assessable improvement.

Current Use

Owners of farmland pasture land or timberland that is producing agricultural products, livestock or wood products for sale to the general public, may apply for current use exemption. Thsi exemption allows for property to be assessed at less that market value when used for the purposes specified. Any owner of eligible property must make a formal application to the Revenue Commissioner's Office if they wish to claim current use.

The current use application may be obtained from the Revenue Commissioner's Office at ay time of the year, but must be filed with the Revenue Commissioner's Office beginning October 1st but no later than January 1st of the tax year.

After current use has been granted, the owner who made application does not have to re-apply for current use for subsequent years. However, if the property is sold, the new owner must file a new application for current use.

All current use applications are subject to verification by the County Agent or State Forestry Commission.

Industrial Exemptions

To qualify for Industrial Exemptions, the owner must file with the Revenue Commissioner's Office, a decree from the State Commission of Revenue and a Resolution of the City and County governing bodies.

When taxes are not paid

Each year, properties on which taxes were not paid are auctioned at a public sale held at the Covington County Courthouse. Individuals who purchase the tax liens are issued a "Certificate of Purchase." If the property is not purchased at a public sale, a Certificate of Purchase is issued and delivered to the State Land Agent.

The property owner has three years from the date of the tax sale to redeem his/her property from the Revenue Commissioner by paying all taxes and costs. If an individual purchased the property at the public sale and the owner does not redeem it within three years, the purchaser is entitled to a Tax Deed.

Property that sells to the State for taxes may be redeemed at any time until the State transfers the certificate to an individual who makes application to purchase the property from the State. The State may transfer a certificate at any time after the sale until the owner redeems the property. If the State transfers the certificate before the three-year redemption period has passed, the owner may still redeem the property. The certificate holder is entitled to a tax deed after three years from the date of the tax sale.

Ater a tax deed has been issued, redemptions can no longer be made in the Revenue Commissioner's Office, and the property owner must resort to a court of law to reclaim his/her property.

Business Personal Property

All persons, corporations, partnerships, etc.owning personal property, aircraft, commercial, mobile or portable units are subject to ad valorem tax. The property must be listed and assessed in the REvenue Commissioner's Office between October 1st and December 31st each year. Failure to make an assessment by the third Monday in January will result in a 10% penalty and fees being added to the tax bill. The County Revenue Commissioner calculates taxes based on the cost new and allowance for depreciation due to age.

Taxes become due on October 1st and may be paid from October 1st thru December 31st. Beginning January 1st, when the taxes become deliquent, the Revenue Commissioner must collect the taxes due or sell the property to satisfy the lien. Personal property sold for taxes cannot be redeemed.

Manufactured Homes (Formerly Mobile Homes)

The Alabama Manufactured Home Act (91-694), signed into law on July 18, 1991, changed the way Manufactured Homes are treated for tax and revenue purposes in Alabama. Under the Act, those manufactured homes located on the owner's property and not held for rental or lease, will be carried on the real property tax rolls in the Revenue Commissioner's Office. All others must be registered in the License Commissioner's Office.

Proof of ownership, along with a description that includes size, year, and model of manufactured home should be brought to the Revenue Commissioner's Office to make an assessment. The owner will receive a decal to display on the right front corner as proof that taxes are paid. Homestead exemption may be claimed if the owner resides there as his/her principal residence as of October 1st of the year of application.

Proof of title (if 1990 or later model) and proof of payment of sales tax must be provided at time of assessment.

Appeals Process

If you feel your property tax is too high, a property owner may file a protest with the Covington County Board of Equalization. Taxpayers are given 10 days to file an appeal after receiving written notice of change of assessed value. Upon receiving a written appeal, a field audit will be conducted by the Covington County Appraisal Department and the Revenue Commissioner's Office will be advised of the Appraiser's finding. At that time, a decision will be made as to the value of the property. The property owner will be notified by mail of the decision and he/she may approve or disapprove of the value. If the property owner approves, the new value willgo into effect for the next tax year. If the property owner disapproves, the Board of Equalization will conduct a hearing for the property owner to present information regarding the change in value. Following this hearing, the property owner will be notified of the decision of the Board of Equalization. If, after this hearing, the property owner is still not satisfied, he/she may appeal to Circuit Court.

In order to preserve your right to carry the appeal process to Circuit Court, taxes must be paid by December 31st, or a bond filed in Circuit Court for double the amount due for taxes.

 

 

 

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