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Brought to you by:
Amanda G. Scott, CPA:
Revenue Commissioner


 
     

 Dear Property Owner:

  The purpose of this page is to acquaint you with Alabama law concerning property tax.  There are 67 counties in Alabama.  In some counties the responsibility to assess and collect taxes is handled by two offices, a tax assessor and tax collector.  In 1973 the people of Morgan County voted to combine the offices of tax assessor and collector into the office of Revenue Commissioner.  On October 1, 1979, the combined office went into effect in Morgan County.

  The office of Revenue Commissioner handles the mapping, appraising, assessing and collection of property for taxes in Morgan County.  The Revenue Commissioner is also responsible for granting exemptions from taxes and collecting and disbursing taxes to the agencies of the State of Alabama and County of Morgan entitled to a share.  This page will attempt to answer some of the questions asked by taxpayers of this county.

  I sincerely hope you will find it informative.  It is a privilege to serve you.

With warmest regards, I am,

Amanda G. Scott,CPA

Revenue Commissioner

PROPERTY TAXES

Property (ad valorem) taxes are taxes on real and/or business personal property. Real property includes land and improvements. Business personal property refers to items which are used in any business and are movable or not permanently fixed to the land.

The Revenue Commissioner is responsible for determining property value which must, by law, be set according to “fair and reasonable market value.” Your property is probably 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,” neither being under any pressure to buy or sell.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU BUY PROPERTY

New property owners often rely on their title company, real estate agent or other representative to properly record and assess their property.  The final responsibility is still yours, as the new owner, to see that all the necessary steps have been completed.  The steps are:
1.        Record your deed in Probate Court.

2.        Assess the property in the Revenue Commissioner’s Office.

3.       
Claim any exemption due you.

4.        Make sure all of this is done no later than December 31 for all property purchased on or before October 1, in order to receive a bill in your name for next year.

5.       
If your mortgage company has agreed to pay your property taxes, a copy of the assessment sheet should be mailed to the company as soon as it is received.  This will give them complete information to request a bill for your property.


6.       
Report all address changes promptly.

PROPERTY APPRAISAL

Morgan County has 55,000 separate parcels of land that must be individually appraised for tax purposes. Each parcel of land must be described on a property record card. Characteristics about land and building are listed and valued separately and become the basis for establishing fair market value. This information is found in the Revenue Commissioner’s Office.

The Revenue Commissioner notifies the property owner and is responsible for collecting the correct tax for each parcel of land. You pay taxes at the end of the tax year.

PROPERTY CLASSIFICATION

In Alabama property is classified as:

Class I                     Utility                                          30%          

Class II                    All Other Property                      20%

Class III                  Agricultural Property and Owner    

                                Occupied  Residential Property  10%

Class IV                  Motor Vehicles                           15%

You multiply the appraised value of property by the proper classification to determine the assessed value.

Taxes are based on assessed value less exemptions, which you qualify for. For example, if you are eligible, apply for Homestead Exemption 1, 2, 3 or 4 before December 31 of each beginning tax year.

ASSESSMENT OF PROPERTY

Each taxpayer is required by Alabama Law (Code s40-7-1) to provide a complete list of all property, which 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 or she is eligible. The Revenue Commissioner should be furnished a correct mailing address for all properties. The property owner must report any changes in ownership to the Revenue Commissioner. All assessments and bills are based upon ownership and status as of October 1 of each year.

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

A Homestead exemption is a tax break a property owner may be entitled to if he or she owns a single-family residence and occupies it as their primary residence on the first day of the tax year for which they are applying. The following are the four types of homestead exemptions:

1.        Regular Homestead is available to all citizens of Alabama who own and occupy a single-family residence, including mobile homes, as their home and use this property for no other purposes. The amount of the exemption is $4,000.00 in assessed value for state taxes and $2,000.00 in assessed value for county taxes.    

2.        Homestead Exemption 2 is for persons over age 65 whose adjusted gross income is less than $12,000.00 annually. This exemption is for all State and County Taxes up to $5,000.00 in assessed value. Those who are permanently and totally disabled or blind regardless of income are entitled to this exemption also.

3.        Homestead Exemption 3 is for persons over age 65 or who are totally disabled. This exemption is from all property taxes if their taxable income is less than $7,500.00.

4.        Homestead Exemption 4 is for persons over 65, regardless of income. This exemption is for the total assessed value of state tax and up to $2,000.00 of assessed value of county.

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

To prove disability, you must furnish a statement from two different sources as to your Total Disability (Homestead #3), or “Total and Permanent Disability” (Homestead #2). Physicians’ letters, Veterans Administration and retirement letters are all acceptable (must be worded as applied for). People who are disabled may receive service without coming to the courthouse by calling 351-4690.

Exemptions should be applied for before December 31 of each year based upon status (owner occupied, age 65, and Totally Disabled or “Totally and Permanently Disabled”) of property and claimant before October 1. In October, a reclaim form is mailed to the property owner who has qualified before, allowing for the claim to be renewed by mail.

MORGAN COUNTY MILLAGE RATE

  In Morgan County your tax bill is based on millage rates applied for the following purposes:  

STATE GENERAL FUND                                 2.5M

STATE SOLDIER FUND                                       1M

STATE SCHOOL FUND                                        3M

COUNTY GENERAL FUND                              7.2M

COUNTY ROAD & BRIDGE FUND                 3.6M

COUNTY WIDE SCHOOL                                  1.5M

COUNTY WIDE SCHOOL                                  4.3M   

                                                                              23.1M*

*This base amount is included in all totals.

Decatur (Total 45.3M)

City of Decatur                                                    18.6M

Decatur City Board of Education                       3.6M

                                                                             23.1M*

                                                                             45.3M

Falkville (Total 42.4M)

City of Falkville                                                             5M

Morgan County Board of Education                    11.3M

Morgan County Volunteer Fire Department            3M

                                                                                  23.1M*

                                                                                   42.4M

 

Hartselle(Total 39.4M)

City of Hartselle                                                     5M

Hartselle City Board of Education                 11.3M

                                                                            23.1M*

                                                                            39.4M

 

Trinity (Total 42.4M)

City of Trinity                                                               5M

Morgan County Board of Education                 11.3M

Morgan County Volunteer Fire Department          3M

                                                                                23.1M*

                                                                                 42.4M

 

All Other Municipalities and Locations (Total 37.4M)

Morgan County Board of Education                  11.3M

Morgan County Volunteer Fire Department           3M

                                                                                  23.1M* 

                                                                                  37.4M

The amount of taxes to be paid is determined by multiplying the appropriate millage rate by assessed value less the proper exemptions.

  Millage rates are set by the county commissions and other taxing agencies, in response to:

(1)     needs of the county general fund;

(2)     needs of others who receive property tax revenues.

A mill is one-tenth of one cent (.001). When all of the taxing authorities’ millage requests are added together, you can calculate a total tax bill.

For example, if you own and live in a residence valued at $40,000, you pay taxes on 10 percent of value or $4000. Without exemptions, 37.4 mills would mean you owed $4000 X .0374 = $149.60.

BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY

All persons, corporations, partnerships, etc. owning business 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 after October 1, but no later than December 31 each year. Failure to make an assessment by the 3rd Monday in January will result in a 10% penalty and fees being added to the tax bill.

All business personal property is appraised by the County Revenue Commissioner for taxes, based on the cost new and allowance for depreciation due to age.

Taxes become due on October 1, the same as ad valorem tax on real property. Delinquent business personal property taxes are handled differently, however. Beginning January 1, when the taxes become delinquent, the Revenue Commissioner must proceed to collect the taxes due or sell the property to satisfy the lien. Business personal property sold for taxes cannot be redeemed.

MANUFACTURED HOMES

(Formerly Mobile Homes)

The Alabama Manufactured Home Act (91-694), signed into law 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 made 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 you own the manufactured home and live in it as your principal residence as of October 1 of the year you are applying for.

Proof of a title (if 1990 or later model) and that sales tax has been paid must be provided at time of assessing.

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. This exemption allows for property to be assessed at less than market value when used only for the purposes specified.

Any owner of eligible property must make a formal application to the Revenue Commissioner’s Office if he or she wishes to claim current use.

The current use applications may be obtained from the Revenue Commissioner’s Office at any time of the year, but under the law they must be filed with the Revenue Commissioner’s Office no later than December 31, for that tax year.

After current use has been granted, the owner who made application for current use does not have to re-apply for current use for subsequent years. However, if the property ownership is transferred or the name is changed by deed or will, the new owner will have to file an application for current use or his or her taxes will be based on fair market value rather than current use values.

 

ABATEMENTS

Industrial Abatements are also available. To qualify, the owner or the private user of an industrial property must file with the County Revenue Commissioner a copy of the resolution from the city or the county governing body granting the abatement of non-educational ad valorem taxes.

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 to or any removal of structures or features from their property, on or before October 1st of that year.

Examples of improvements that are assessable would include 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 re-roofing, minor repairs and painting, (normal maintenance type items), would not require a reassessment.

APPEALS PROCESS

If you feel your property value is too high, you may file a written protest with the Morgan County Board of Equalization. Mail protest to P.O. Box 696, Decatur, AL 35602.

In a re-appraisal year, property owners are given 10 days to file an appeal after receiving written notice of change in valuation. For current year Board of Equalization filing deadlines you may call (256) 351-4694.

Upon your appeal, you will be contacted by a county appraiser to review your valuation. If, after this review you are still not satisfied with your valuation, a hearing will be set for you to formally meet with the Board of Equalization to present information you feel justifies a change in value.

Following this hearing, you will be notified of the decision of the Board of Equalization. You may appeal to Circuit Court within 30 days from the date the Board of Equalization notified you of their decision.     

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

 

WHEN TAXES ARE NOT PAID

  Each year the parcels upon which taxes are not paid are auctioned off at a public sale at the county courthouse. Individuals who come to the sale and buy the tax liens are issued a “Certificate of Purchase.” If no individual buys the tax lien, a Certificate of Purchase is made out and delivered to the State Land Agent.

The property owner has three years from the date of the tax sale to redeem his or her property from the Revenue Commissioner by paying all taxes and costs. If the property was bought at the tax sale by an individual and the owner does not redeem it within three years from the date of the sale, the individual who purchased the property at the tax sale is entitled to a tax deed.   

Property that sells to the state for taxes can be redeemed at any time until the state transfers the certificate to an individual who makes application to purchase from the state. The state can transfer a certificate at any time after the tax sale until the owner redeems the property. If the state transfers the certificate before the three year redemption period is up the owner may still redeem the property. As stated above, the certificate holder is entitled to a tax deed after 3 years from the date of the tax sale and upon delivery to the Revenue Commissioner the original Certificate of Purchase.

After 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 or her property.

TIMETABLE FOR COLLECTING TAXES

  Taxes are collected on the following schedule for the year that ended on September 30th:

                October 1              Tax Due

                January 1              Tax Delinquent

                February               Citation Fee Added

                April                       Advertised For Sale

                May                        Tax Sale

METHOD OF PAYMENT

1.        Taxes are due every year the first of October and are   delinquent after the 31st of December.

2.        Payment may be made as follows:

a.        You may come to the Revenue Commissioner’s Office at the courthouse and make payment in person by cash, check, or money order.

b.        You may pay by mail, by mailing a check or money order to:                                

Amanda G. Scott, CPA
Morgan County Revenue Commissioner
P.O. Box 696
Decatur, AL 35602
  c.        Ask your mortgage company to pay your bill.

  d.        Pay online with Visa® or MasterCard® by visiting us at  www.co.morgan.al.us  There is a small convenience fee.

      3.        If you purchased property during the year, you need to make sure the taxes are paid. The tax bill will usually be in the previous owner’s name.  You are responsible for taxes on all property you own, no matter how the tax bill may be listed. 

 

REVENUE COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE

NAME                                                                          PHONE

Amanda G. Scott, CPA                                   (256) 351-4690
Revenue Commissioner

Renee Fields                                                            351-4695
Chief Clerk

Richard Gattis                                                            351-4674
Chief Appraiser

Appraisal Division                                                     351-4799

Assessing Division                                                   351-4690

Loquetta Aycock                                                         351-4856

GIS Mapper

Mapping Division                                                      351-4698

Collecting Division                                                    351-4693

Shelia Harrell                                                             351-4697
Business Personal Property Appraiser

Personal Property                                                      351-4862

Board of Equalization                                                351-4694

Fax                                                                                 351-4699

Web site Address                             www.co.morgan.al.us       


MAILING ADDRESS:

Amanda G. Scott, CPA
Revenue Commissioner
302 Lee Street, NE
P.O. Box 696
Decatur, AL 35602

Hartselle Satellite Office

241 Highway 31 SW
Suite 10
Hartselle, AL 35640