There are three major steps involved in the assessment of real and personal property:
The Assessor follows these steps to insure that no property is omitted or listed twice, that each property is assessed to the correct person or persons, and that each property is assessed uniformly and according to law. A brief description of each follows:
The assessor’s first responsibility is to locate both real and personal property. This process starts with the previous year’s tax lists. Additional sources of information are: (1) Town Clerk’s land records and property transfer deeds, (2) maps, particularly development maps, (3) the Commercial Record, (4) building permits, (5) newspapers, (6) removal permits or reports of fire, (7) physical inspection of properties, (8) personal property declarations, (9) motor vehicle registrations, (10) conditional bills of sale, (11) certificates of trade names, (12) annual reports, (13) beer and liquor licenses, and (14) corporation reports from the Secretary of the State.
After property has been located, the assessor lists all property information on new tax lists and record cards. This information is maintained in property data files in the city’s computer system. All interest in real estate is set in the list of the person in whose name the title to such interest stands in the land records on the assessment date. Information needed includes the owner’s name and address, the location and legal description of the property, and the size and quantity of land. The description of each parcel of land, whether by lot number in a development or by block and lot numbers on the assessor’s maps, is clearly designated so that no additional information is needed to identify the parcel. Each parcel of land is listed separately to assure that no property is omitted and each parcel can be identified on the assessor’s maps.
All property is assessed according to the statutory rule of value and all property is assessed uniformly and at the same level of value. TheConnecticut General Statutes(12-63) provide that the present true and actual value of property must be deemed to be its fair market value. Fair market value is the amount of money for which property may be exchanged (1) within a reasonable period of time, and (2) under conditions in which both parties to the exchange are willing, able, and reasonably well informed. Section 12-64 of the General Statutes provides that all property, not exempt, shall be set in the grand list of the city or town in which it is located and, except as otherwise provided by law, shall be liable to taxation at a uniform percentage of its present true and actual valuation, not exceeding one hundred percent of such valuation, to be determined by the assessor. The statute makes two significant requirements: the same percentage must be used for all property, both real and personal, and the assessment must not be more than one hundred percent of value.
In the City of Stamford, as with other cities and towns throughout the state, the percentage which the assessor applies to full values before setting them in the grand list is known as the “assessment ratio” or the relationship between assessed value and market value. Section 12-62s of the General Statutes mandates assessment of all property at 70 percent of fair market value (i.e.; a property with a fair market value of $100,000 would be assessed for tax purposes at $70,000).