Santa Fe County Property Tax Frequently Asked Questions
courtesy of Martin Wright  ~ Coldwell Banker Trails West Realty

Q. How much are property taxes in Santa Fe in 2013?

A. Property taxes are paid in arrears in Santa Fe County. 2013 tax rates are not expected to be announced until November 2013.

Q. What are taxes under current 2012 rates?

A. Santa Fe County uses a computation method which divides the assessed value by 3, then multiplies this result by the millage rate to determine the property tax.

Here is a simpler method. The effective tax rate right now in the City of Santa Fe* is about $669.70 per $100,000 in assessed value. So property taxes on a residence assessed at $100,000 in value would be $669.70 / year. A $300,000 house would be about 3 times that or $2009.10.... etc.

Martin's Formula: 2012 Santa Fe City Property Tax = Assessed Value / 100,000 X $669.70

* In Santa Fe school district but outside the city, the 2012 rate is $612.07 / $100,000.

Q. What does the Office of the County Assessor do?

A. 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.

Q. Does the County Commission oversee, manage or supervise the Assessor's Office?

A. 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.

Q.How is the Office of the County Assessor held accountable for enforcing and administering the Property Tax Code?

A. 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.

Q. Does the Assessor or any employee of the Office have the authority to arbitrarily reduce the value of my property with no evidence or other written proof?

A. 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
Q. Are there any special arrangements I must take before recording a property split or combine survey plat?

A. 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.

Q. If taxes are owed on a parcel of land that has been split or combined with another parcel, who is responsible for the taxes on the original parcel?

A. 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.

Q. How are the changes in the value of my property determined?

A. 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).

Q. I am new to New Mexico and have purchased a home. Do I have to pay property taxes in New Mexico?

A. 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.

Q. What is the Notice of Value?

A. 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.

Business Personal Property
Q. What personal property must be reported to the Office of the County Assessor?

A. All business personal property that is reported to the Internal Revenue Service for depreciation must be reported to the Office of the County Assessor by the last day in February for the most recent income tax year.

Manufactured Homes
Q. Must a manufactured home be assessed with the County Assessor?

A. Yes. State law requires, manufactured homes to be reported and assessed for property taxes. The Assessor requires a copy of the manufactured home vehicle registration or the title, along with the manufactured home property or location.

Q. What steps must I take as a manufactured home owner before either selling, moving or trading in a manufactured home?

A. Bring your Title or Certificate of Registration to the County Assessor's Office. The Assessor will determine if you are registered on the tax rolls. If it is not, they will assign a property account number and a value to your manufactured home for the current year and up to ten years depending upon your date of purchase. You may be referred to the County Land Use Department or otherwise verify that your proposed site address is zoned for manufactured homes. You would then go to the Treasurer's Office to obtain a tax release, which is a statement that all taxes are paid. The release is issued only after you pay your current calendar year taxes based on the Assessor's value(s) and any other outstanding taxes. If you are moving your manufactured home, the Treasurer will require the new site address before the tax release can be issued. If you are selling your manufactured home, you must provide the name of the new owner as it should appear on the new title to be issued by the State Motor Vehicle Department.

Q. How are manufactured homes values determined?

A. The valuation method used for determining the value of manufactured homes for property taxation purposes shall be a cost method, applying generally accepted appraisal techniques and shall generally provide for: the determination of initial cost of a manufactured home based upon classifications of manufactured homes and sales prices for the various classifications, deductions from initial cost for allowable straight line depreciation, which is developed by the State Property Tax Division; and deductions from initial cost of other justifiable factors, including, but not limited to, functional and economic obsolescence.

Q. Will my assessment show the value for the land as well as the manufactured home?

A. No. The land value appears on a separate assessment. Note also that you will receive two tax bills: One for the manufactured home and one for your lot (unless the lot is a rental).

Q. I am thinking of either moving or selling my manufactured home. Are there any special arrangements I must make?

A. By state law, manufactured home owners have to prepay taxes if they are going to sell or move their manufactured home to a new location. Current year taxes have to be paid before the manufactured home can be moved or the title transferred to the new owner.

Manufactured Homes Assessed as Real Property
You may request to have your manufactured home assessed as real property. The manufactured home must meet the criteria listed below to be assessed as real property. The form must be completed and return to the Santa Fe County Assessor's Office, c/o Manufactured Homes Section, 102 Grant Ave, P.O. Box 126, Santa Fe, NM 87504.
The submitted request form will be processed by the Assessor's Office to allow the manufactured homes appraiser sufficient time to inspect the manufactured home to ensure it meets the required criteria.

Agricultural and Grazing Special Values
In order to preserve the limited lands available in New Mexico for agricultural and grazing purposes, the New Mexico Legislature has given special valuation status to irrigated agricultural land. (7-36-20 NMSA 1978). Qualified owners of such land must register their land for first time use with the County Assessor by the last day in February and must be prepared to prove that agriculture is the primary use of the land. For the purpose of this section, agricultural use generally means the use of land for the production of plants crops, trees, forest products, orchard crops, livestock, poultry or fish. The term also includes the use of land that meets the requirements for payment of other compensation pursuant to a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government. The agricultural form is available here.

Q. What does agricultural products mean?

A. Agricultural products include: plants, crops, trees, forest products, orchard crops, livestock, wool, mohair, hides, pelts, poultry, fish, dairy products and honey.

Q. What is the Agricultural Special Method of Valuation?

A. Grazing valuation claims require proof of the presence of at least one head of livestock on a minimum land requirement of 80 acres (southern Santa Fe County) and 53 acres (northern Santa Fe County) and proof that the livestock has access to all of the agricultural land for the tax year. This may be in the form of a grazing lease, a personal property declaration of livestock that graze on the land, or some other proof of grazing use. Grazing, however, must be the primary use of the land in order to qualify.

Q. What is the difference between wet and dry agricultural land?

A. As defined in chapter 7-36-20, wet or irrigated land is all agricultural land, of which minimum of one acre is cultivated, and is receiving supplemental water through irrigation ditches.

Q. How does the Assessor determine whether the primary use of the land is agricultural?

A. The determination is based on the evidence provided. No exemption will be granted if there is evidence that the land is being held for speculative land subdivision and sale; for commercial use of a non-agricultural nature; recreational use; if the land is being leased and whether or not the lessee is using it for agricultural purposes; or any other nonagricultural use.

Q. What is the minimum acreage that qualifies for an agricultural or grazing classification?

A. One acre (PTD Regulation 36-20:2) of non-improved land is the minimum acreage that can be used as agriculture, and 80 acres minimum for grazing.

Q. Does the Assessor's Office have the right to request income and expense information from a taxpayer who is applying for agricultural valuation?

A. Yes. Property Tax Division Regulation 36-20-7 indicates the application form may contain a request for providing information on the owner's farm income and farm expenses reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Schedule F.

Claiming Exemptions
Under New Mexico law, there are two New Mexico property taxation exemptions and several categories of institutional and governmental exemptions. Individual exemptions are available for head of family and qualifying veterans. Institutional exemptions are available for governmental agencies, schools, service organizations (nonprofit), churches and special status exemptions.

Q. When may exemptions be claimed?

A. Between January 1st and the last day of February of the current tax year. If property changes ownership during the time of exemption, the exemption will be removed and the new owner must apply by the last day of February of the next tax year (7-38-17 NMSA 1978).

Q. Is there a Homestead or Head of Household Exemption in NewMexico?

A. The New Mexico Legislature has established a Head of Family exemption of $2,000.

Q. Who is eligible for the Head of Family exemption and how is it applied?

A. Head of the Family means an individual New Mexico resident who is either (1) Married; (2) Widow or Widower; (3) Head of Household furnishing more than one-half the cost of support of any related person; or (4) a single person . Those eligible for this exemption must apply for it only once to receive it in subsequent years. Only one family exemption per household is permitted, and it must be the property in which the owner resides in the State of New Mexico.

Q. How is the Veteran Exemption status determined and how does it affect property taxes?

A. The New Mexico Veteran's Service Commission determines eligibility and issues a certificate to all qualifying veterans. This certificate (original copies only) may be used to claim the New Mexico Property Tax Exemption of $4,000 a year. Once the exemption is claimed, it is retained for subsequent years without re-application. Veterans with certificates should apply with the Assessor between January 1 and the last day of February for the exemption. Surviving spouses may receive the exemption if they qualify with the New Mexico Veteran's Service commission. For more information, call the New Mexico Veteran's Service Commission in Santa Fe for details on expanded eligibility by the legislature for veterans at 505-827-6300.

Q. How can I find out if my organization warrants an exemption?

A. Please review the Property Tax Code. If you feel your organization meets the requirements then you must apply for an exemption with the Assessor's Office. The burden of proof is on the property owner to document eligibility each year. The nongovernmental claim for exemption form can be downloaded here.

Low Income Over 65 and Disabled Value Freeze
Q. How do I apply for the elderly and disabled value freeze?

A. You must apply annually before the last day in February by submitting the Taxation and Revenue Department form available here. This form allows you to qualify by certifying that your "Modified Gross Income" as defined by the Income Tax Act is less than $32,500. This form must be submitted to the Office of the County Assessor and is subject to audit by the Taxation and Revenue Department.

Residential Property Value Cap
Q. How does the residential property value cap affect the value of my residence?

A. Since 2001 the Legislature enacted a law that capped the amount of value increase for residential property at 3% per year or 6% every two years of the total value. If the current and correct market value increased less, then that would be the new value.

Q. Now that there has been a downward turn in the market that indicates some residential properties are losing value will I receive a reduction in my value?

A. That depends on your Assessed Value versus your actual market value. Remember that your assessed value has not kept up with the true current and correct market levels due to the cap. Your residence could receive an assessed value decrease once the current and correct market levels fall below your assessed value. Depending on many variables especially the amount of time you have owned your home will have a large effect on when you may experience a reduction in your assessed value.

Affordable Housing Subsidy Deduction
The affordable housing deduction was enacted by the Legislature in 2009. The deduction may be applied to a property that has a covenant or encumbrance imposed pursuant to federal, state, or local affordable housing programs that limits the owners benefits in the event the residence would be sold.

Protesting Values
Q. When can I protest my assessed valuation?

A. A property owner may protest the value, classification, the allocation of the value of the property, or denial of a claim for exemption by filing a protest form with the Assessor no later than 30 days after the mailing of the Notice of Value.

Q. What is the protest process?

A. To start the protest process in the County, you should: timely fill out the protest form that is available at the County Assessor's office at 102 Grant Ave., Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87504 or download the protest form now. Make sure you fill out the form completely or it will be returned to you. Be sure to include the amount you believe your property is worth and be ready to defend that value with evidence such as comparable sales. Mail in the form or bring it to the Assessor's Office in person. Later prior to the informal conference you must submit a copy of your evidence, if the dispute can not be resolved a formal hearing with the Valuation Protest Board will be set. If the dispute is still not resolved to your satisfaction at the Board hearing, you may make an official appeal to Santa Fe District Court.

Q. May I review my records at the Assessor's office?

A. Yes, you have the right to review any information that is deemed to be of public record. You may only review your own confidential information in our files related to your property only.

Q. I protested my property valuation and was told by the Assessor's office that I should receive another property tax bill with the correct valuation. How long will it be before I receive the new tax bill?

A. Check the valuation on your tax bill. If the value is in error and your valuation protest was adjusted, check with your appraiser at the Assessor's Office to see if the necessary paperwork has been processed. Once the Treasurer's Office has received the paperwork from the Assessor, it may take 6 - 8 weeks before you receive an amended tax bill or refund. If your valuation protest was not adjusted, you will not receive another tax bill. You must pay the amount you were taxed by December 10 and May 10 (first and second halves), or you will incur penal penalty and interest charges.

Q. My valuation protest is still pending. Do I have to pay my taxes by December 10?

A. According to state law, you must pay at least the amount of tax due on the value not in dispute by December 10. If your valuation protest is s till not resolved by the second half due date of May 10, you must also pay the 2nd half tax on value not in dispute.

Q. Will I be charged interest and penalty on my amended tax bill if I don't pay by December 10?

A. No. Your corrected tax bill will have a new delinquency date and you will receive your new bill at least 30 days before the date the taxes must be paid.

Q. May I protest my taxes?

A. No the law does not allow you to protest your taxes, however you may still question your value and classification when you receive your tax bill provided that you did not file a protest when you received your Notice of Value by:

1. Paying your taxes by the due date.
2. File a claim for refund in District Court.
3. Pay the Court Costs
4. Meet with the Office of the County Assessor if ordered by the District Judge.
5. If a resolution can not be agreed to, appear before the District Judge to submit your evidence.
6. District Judge will make the final decision by adjusting the value.

It is your responsibility to attend budget hearings of the taxing authorities and question their spending of your tax dollars, and you are also responsible for voting for or against bond issues. The Office of the County Assessor has no role in neither reviewing or approving budgets or advising anyone on how to vote on bond issues on the ballot or auditing any of the expenditures. We are only responsible and accountable to you for the value we independently place on your property.

Other Tax Facts
Q. What are the property tax rates in New Mexico?

A. Composite mill rates by area as of 2008 ranged from 12.969 to $27.00 per $1000 of net taxable value of your property, depending on the type and location of the property.

Q. How much property tax will I have to pay?

A. Property taxes are based on two variables:

1. How much revenue each taxing authority needs to generate, to meet its budgeted obligations to you as a citizen of that authority, and/or how much it will take to make payments on bond issues that the majority of voters approved during that election.

2. The net taxable value of your property.

Budgets (plus) Bond Payments (divided by) the total net taxable value of the entire tax authority will dictate how much taxes you and the other property owners of that authority will be billed. If one citizen's property is not on the tax rolls all the other property owners will pay a higher tax amount to make up for the taxes not paid by the delinquent property owner. That is why it is important for the Office of the Santa Fe County Assessor to correctly value and place on the tax rolls all taxable property, so that the tax is spread out in an equitable manner.

Taxing Authorities
Citizens of Santa Fe County (Bonds Only)
State of New Mexico (Bonds Only)
Municipalities, Towns, Villages
School Districts
Community Colleges
Special Districts-Flood Control, Tax Incremental Development Districts
Water Associations
Livestock Board

Q. What services are provided for by my property taxes?

A. There are many services that are provided to you by all the taxing authorities such as fire and police protection, public schools. community colleges, county jail that houses inmates from all levels of government, juvenile corrections facilities, senior citizen centers, community centers, public roads, libraries, funding for Cristus St. Vincent Hospital, for matching federal funds, parks, health clinics, coordinate growth issues, promote and require environmental awareness and care and many more public services.

Q. What happens to my taxes after they are collected?

A. Taxes are distributed to the agencies for whom the County Treasurer collects in the month following collection. Until that time the County Treasurer invests these funds in time deposits with approved banks and savings and loan companies with in the County, and participates in the State investment pool. The Treasurer is also authorized by state statute to invest in securities backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

Q. Is there a limit to the amount of my property taxes that can be increased?

A. Residential property values may only increase no more than 3% per year therefore limiting the amount that will be available to the taxing Authorities.

There is also a Yield Control Formula that is calculated to ensure limited tax increases (5%or the index for the price of government goods and services whichever is less) on properly appraised properties. The calculation on the tax rates and Yield Control Formula are computed by the Local Government Division of the Department of Finance and Administration annually.

Q. What penalties is a property owner subject to for not complying with the Property Tax Code?

A. There are several monetary civil and one criminal penalty of $5,000 and 18 months in jail or both, that may be applied to a property owner that intentionally does not comply with the Property Tax Code.

Source of information: Santa Fe County Assessor  Santa Fe, New Mexico information provided courtesy of:
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