Q. Why did my property taxes increase this year?
Your property tax is determined in part by the net taxable value of your property, which varies with fluctuations in the real estate market and any modifications you may have made to the property. The tax is also determined by the revenue needs of the state, city and county governments, and school districts. These are melded together by the Department of Taxation and Revenue into a combined tax rate, which multiplied by the net taxable value of your property sets your property taxes. Any or all of these factors can fluctuate and may result in a change in your taxes. We suggest you start by comparing year-to-year the values shown on your notice of value. If you still have questions you can call or visit our offices for help.
For more information regarding property taxes please visit our website.
Q. Does the County Council superintend, manage or supervise the Assessor's Office?
No. The County Council has no superintending authority over the Assessor. The State Department of Taxation and Revenue has general supervision over the Assessor.
Q. What does property valuation mean?
The valuation set for property by the County Assessor is based on the Assessor’s opinion of the market value of your property, which may include your residence, vacant land, commercial property, or other taxable property.
Q. How are the changes in the value of my property determined?
The Assessor is required by state law to determine and maintain the current and correct market value of property as determined by sales of comparable property or other means. The office collects market data, inspects every property at least once every five years, monitors building permits, subscribes to aerial photography, and uses computer-assisted-mass-appraisal (CAMA) software to develop a value as of January 1 of each tax year. On our website you will find more detailed information as to how the net taxable value and the property tax are determined (See 7-36-15 NMSA 1978).
Q. When may exemptions be claimed?
Exemptions must be claimed between January 1st and the last day of February of the current tax year. Exemptions are removed if the property changes ownership and the new owner must apply by the last day of February of the next tax year.
Q. Must a manufactured home be assessed with the County Assessor?
Yes. By state law, manufactured homes must be assessed for property taxes. The Assessor requires a copy of the manufactured home vehicle registration or the title, along with the manufactured home location. See our website for more information on manufactured homes.
Q. I am in the process of moving or selling my manufactured home. What is required for me to do so?
By state law, manufactured homeowners 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 is transferred to the new owner. See our website for more information on manufactured homes.
Q. Is there a limit on the increase of my property taxes?
Tax increases are constrained by an annual limitation of 3% in the full taxable value (see our website for a description of how this works) and to “yield control,” which applies to county valuation as a whole, not to individual parcels. Yield control places a limit on the amount of taxes local governments may receive from reappraisal. It places a cap on how much property tax local taxing agencies may receive. By adjusting the tax rate to limit the annual amount of property taxes that can be collected, yield control limits the amount individual property owners will pay. Taxes assessed to retire voter approved bonded debt are not subject to yield control. The law limits the overall total tax increase for the operational budgets of most local governments. If the property tax base increases, then the average rate should decrease.
Q. What is a Notice of Value?
The NOV is a notice of the net taxable value the Assessor has determined for a property based on the prior year's market, any other changes in the value of the property, and applicable exemptions.
Q. When will I receive my notice of value?
The Assessor is required to mail one Notice of Value for each assessed property by April 1 of each year.
Q. How does an appraiser value my property and why is the Assessor's valuation different from a fee appraisal?
The Assessor uses national standard techniques and systems to determine the current and correct market value of your property. The Assessor's valuation may differ from a value estimate from a fee appraiser. Many reasons may explain the difference. One is that the Assessor's "effective date of valuation" is a fixed time in the past January 1 of the current tax year. A fee appraiser usually values a property as of a recent inspection date. Another reason is a statute that limits increases in the valuation for assessments on residential properties. Also, the Assessor only inspects properties once every five years, and uses market data and mass appraisal techniques to determine new values every year, which inevitably produces slightly different results than fee appraisal. We have ongoing quality control based on “sales ratio” studies – comparing the sales price of Los Alamos properties with our assessed values – and we can make adjustments based on those studies. Most years our overall sales ratio averages about 0.98 (i.e., appraised values average about 2% under market). See our website for the annual Property Valuation and Maintenance Plan which gives a more detailed explanation of sales ratio studies.
Business Personal Property
The Assessor is required by state law to assess business equipment. Tangible personal property is property "that is used, produced, manufactured, held for sale, leased or maintained by a person for purposes of the person's profession, business or occupation; and for which the owner has claimed a deduction for federal income tax purposes during any federal income taxable year occurring in whole or in part during the twelve months immediately preceding the first day of the property tax year" (NMSA 7-36-8), and is not permanently affixed to or part of real estate
Q. When Must Business Personal Property be reported?
Businesses must report by the last day of February, each year.
Q. What Items should be reported?
- Office furniture and fixtures, file cabinets, books and bookcases, desks and decorative items
- Store equipment such as racks, shelves, shopping carts, equipment, typewriters, time clocks, and ATM's
- Restaurant equipment including tables, booths, chairs, drink dispensers, freezers appliances, sinks and cookware.
- Apartment, motel and hotel equipment including furniture, exercise equipment, appliances, lighting, and decorative items.
- Machinery and heavy equipment as well as shop tools, dental tools, drilling equipment, portable sheds, dumpsters
- forklifts, engraving machines, welding equipment and mortuary equipment.
- Electronic equipment, such as sound systems, alarm systems, musical instruments, fax machines, computers, camera
- Equipment, postage scales, vending machines, radios, televisions
- small tools, and video recorders
- Leased equipment is also assess able.
Under New Mexico Property Tax Law, NMSA 1978, chapter 7, there are two categories of individual 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.
Head of Family: If Property changes ownership after the 1st of the year, the exemption will be removed on January 1st of the following year and the new owner must apply by the last day of the 30-Day Protest Period to qualify for the new tax year.
Q. Who is eligible for the Head of Family Exemption and how is it applied?
The state statute on this reads: As used in this section, Head of the Family means an individual New Mexico resident who is either married; widow or widower; Head of Household furnishing more than one half the cost of support of any related person; or 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. The Head of Household exemption is currently capped at $2,000.
Veteran Exemption: If property changes ownership after January 1st, the exemption will be removed on January 1st of the following year and the new owner must apply by the last day of the 30-Day Protest Period in order to qualify for that tax year (7-38-17 NMSA 1978).
Q. How is the Veteran Exemption status determined and how does it affect property taxes?
The New Mexico Veteran's Service Commission determines all eligibility and issues a certificate to all qualifying veterans. This certificate (original document only) may be used to claim the New Mexico Property Tax Exemption. Once the exemption is claimed, it is retained for subsequent years without having to reapply. Veterans with certificates should apply for exemption with the Assessor. Veterans have 30 days after the official mail date of their Notice of Value to apply. Surviving spouses may receive the exemption if they qualify with the New Mexico Veteran's Service Commission. For more information, call the Veterans Service Commission in Santa Fe at (505-827-6354 or 505-827-6374).
APPEALS PROCESS: Protesting Assessment Values
Q. When can I protest my valuation as determined by the Assessor?
A property owner may protest the value of classification by the Assessor, the allocation of the value of the property, or denial of a claim for exemption by filing a petition with the Assessor no later than 30 days after the mailing of the Notice of Value. A taxpayer may file a letter of inquiry and the Assessor may elect to resolve the question without going through a formal protest.
Q. What is the protest process if I disagree with the Assessor's valuation?
To start the protest process in the County, you should:
- Fill out a protest form.
- Forms may be obtained through this website or by contacting the Assessor's Office.
- Mail in the form or bring it to the Assessor's Office in person. It is helpful if you provide them with a copy of your documentation; do not give them your original.
- A formal hearing with the Valuation Protest Board will be set.
- An informal meeting may be set with a field appraiser.
- If the dispute is not resolved satisfactorily at the Board hearing, you may make an official appeal to the Court of Appeals.
Q. May I review my records at the Assessor's Office for my protest?
Yes. You can view most of your property’s information online .
Click on EagleWeb.
You may call or visit our office for help or information. 505 662-8030, 1000 Central Ave. Ste 210.
Q. How do I estimate my Property Taxes?
Fair Market Value
The most probable price in a competitive and open market, the buyer and seller acting prudently and knowledgeably and not affected by undue stimulus.
Fair market value adjusted to honor limitations on annual tax increases required for residential properties (3%, and 65 or disabled),
Full Value times the tax ratio (1/3).
Net Taxable Value
Taxable Value minus exemptions (Head of family - $2000, Veteran ($4,000), Disabled Veteran - 100%),
Tax Rates as of 2023 for Los Alamos County:
Multiply the net taxable value by the tax rate.