Do you have questions about what the Assessor’s office does and how we set property values?
Please see this helpful informational video, provided by the Olmsted County Assessors Office.
For more information, search FAQs below or contact our office at 320-634-7715.
General FAQs and Information
What does the assessor's office do?
- Estimates Value – The law specifically requires that assessors view each parcel of real estate to appraise its market value. Property values change continuously with changing economic conditions. In addition to market changes, numerous physical changes affect the value of land and buildings. All factors that may influence value must be considered when estimating the value of property. This task requires a physical inspection of all property subject to assessment.
- Classifies Property – The assessor also determines the classification or use of each parcel. For instance, property may be Residential Homestead (owner-occupied), Relative Residential Homestead (relative of owner is occupant), Residential Non-Homestead, Agricultural, or Commercial/Industrial. Each classification is taxed and receives credits at a different percentage of market value. These percentages are set by the state legislature.
- Accepts Applications for Property Tax Credits – The Minnesota property tax law provides certain credits or forms of special tax relief, one of the more common being the Homestead Credit. Applications for Homestead-Classification; Application for Tax Exemption; Application for Agricultural Tax and Special Assessment Deferment; Applications for Special Disability Classification are among programs of interest to property owners. Please call the Assessor’s Office at 320-634-7715 if you think you may qualify.
Why does the assessor's office exist?
In Minnesota, property taxes provide most of the funding for local government services. Each property’s share of the property tax burden is determined according to its value and use. The Assessor’s Office collects, tabulates and updates property data annually for further county calculations. The dollar amount required to cover operating expenses of local governments is levied by each township, city, school district or county to pay for services required by local citizens. This translates into an annual property tax bill due and payable for each individual property.
How will I know when an assessor is coming to my property?
Postcards are being mailed if a staff assessor is planning to be in your area. This does not include townships who employ a local assessor. Local assessors will also use safe practices and may send notices out as well. Call one of your local township officials or our office at 320-634-7715, to inquire who does that townships assessing.
I received a bright pink tag from an assessor at my residence, now what?
The applicable check box will have been completed by the assessor, regarding why they were at your residence.
- To complete the required physical review of your property. (Minnesota Statute 273.01)
- To review new construction.
- If you had an appointment set up with the assessor, but you were not at your residence.
Please contact our office at 320-634-7715, to speak to the assessor for your area, in regards to the tag.
You may also fill out our online self-reporting form, if you are unable to speak to an assessor during normal business hours, which are Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
I've had a fire or storm damage to my house. Should I contact the assessor's office?
Yes, however depending on the extent of the damage and when it is repaired, you may or may not see a value/tax change. Remember, the assessment is based “as of January 2” of each year. Contact the Pope County Assessor’s office at 320-634-7715.
The Solid Waste Service Fee - An Explanation
For questions regarding the solid waste fee, please contact Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management at 320-763-9340 or 1-800-972-6318.
Pope County Resolution 201818 - Amending the Pope County Solid Waste Fee
Minnesota Department of Revenue - Basic Property Tax Assessment Cycle Timeline
Ask A Question About My Property
Report A Change In Primary Residence
Self-Reporting Assessment Form
Appraiser Review Form
How do I obtain a property field card and/or property tax information?
As of 2017, all of our property field card information is on our website. Please use the instructions below to navigate.
If you need further assistance, please contact our office at 320-634-7715.
Appeal Classification or Valuation Steps
What can I do if I think the estimated market value is incorrect or my property is classified incorrectly?
The time to appeal or question your Classification or Valuation is when you receive the blue Valuation Notice with your tax statement in the spring. It will be too late when proposed taxes are sent.
Steps to appeal are as follows:
- Contact the Pope County Assessor’s Office at 320-634-7715, in order to discuss the assessment with the appraiser for your property.
- You will be asked for your name, what your question/concern is, your property ID number, and a phone number the assessor can call you back at. On the blue valuation notice, your property ID number is located in the upper left hand side.
- Your information will then be sent to your assessor for review. Please give them some time to look into what changed and why, and they will give you a call back to discuss.
- If you would like to appeal your value at a Board of Appeal meeting, per Minnesota Statute 274.01, the assessor must be allowed access to inspect the property and the interior of any buildings or structures. If the assessor isn’t allowed to do a reassessment, the board may not make an individual market value adjustment or classification change.
- When the assessor comes out for a reassessment, there is no guarantee that the value will decrease, stay the same or increase.
- If you would like to set up a reassessment, your assessor will work with you to find a time during business hours, for them to meet with you at the property and perform a reassessment. If you are in a township that has a local board, the reassessment will need to be completed prior to the local board meeting.
- After the reassessment, the assessor will go over all the data they collected and determine if there is any valuation or classification change. They will then contact you regarding their assessment.
- If you are still in disagreement with the assessment, you can then appeal to the Local or County Board of Appeal and Equalization.
The methods of appeal are detailed on your estimated market valuation notice as well.
Dispute Your Estimated Market Value
Property Value FAQs
Why has my value gone up?
Property values are based on the typical sales prices which fluctuate with general market conditions such as the general economy, property locations, supply and demand, demographic changes, and changes in tax laws. Per Minnesota state laws, as property values change in the market place, those changes must be reflected in the assessor’s Estimated Market Values.
How value changes affect taxes
What is market value?
Minnesota Statute 272.03 defines market value as “the usual selling price… at the time of assessment.” It is “the price that could be obtained at a private sale or an auction sale, if the assessor determines that the price from an auction sale represents an arms-length transaction. The price obtained at a forced sale shall not be considered.” In other words, market value is the most probable price that would prevail under competitive, open-market conditions.
How does the assessor's office determine market value?
State law requires that the value and classification of real estate be established as of January 2 each year. The Assessor’s Office works throughout the year to estimate the market value of each property for the following January 2 assessment date.
- Views Property – Approximately every 5th year, an appraiser will view the property. In addition, all new construction, alterations or improvements will be viewed in the current year.
- Gathers Information – The appraiser gathers information on all characteristics of the property that affect market value, such as size, age, quality, basement finish. As well as extra features such as fireplaces, extra baths, walkouts, etc.
- Estimates Value – The property characteristics are entered into a computerized system. The computer aids the appraiser in estimating the property value. Information from actual sales is used to update the computer model and set the table schedules which are used to update your market value. The market value estimated by the assessor should be at, or very close to, the amount the property would sell for if placed on the open market. The State Board of Equalization requires the overall level of assessment to be between 90% and 105% of market value.
- Notification – A value notice is mailed each spring to every property owner in Pope County. The assessment on January 2 forms the basis for the following year’s real estate taxes.
Can my estimated market value change even if the assessor has not been inside my property?
Yes. The assessor keeps records on the physical characteristics of each property in the County. Even though the assessor may have been unable to go through your property, the Estimated Market Value will still be reviewed annually based on the existing records and/or sales of similar property.
I haven't changed anything. Why do you have to come to my house?
State statute requires the assessor to physically review 20% of all property each year. This results in the assessor visiting your neighborhood every five years. The assessor is verifying that the currently existing information is accurate, and checking for any changes that may have been made to the property. Having accurate property information is critical when valuing and classifying property and contributes to a fair and equitable assessment for everybody.
- 273.01 LISTING AND ASSESSMENT, TIME.
- All real property subject to taxation shall be listed and at least one-fifth of the parcels listed shall be appraised each year with reference to their value on January 2 preceding the assessment so that each parcel shall be reappraised at maximum intervals of five years. All real property becoming taxable in any year shall be listed with reference to its value on January 2 of that year. Except as provided in this section and section 274.01, subdivision 1, all real property assessments shall be completed two weeks prior to the date scheduled for the local board of review or equalization. No changes in valuation or classification which are intended to correct errors in judgment by the county assessor may be made by the county assessor after the board of review or the county board of equalization has adjourned; however, corrections of errors for real or personal property that are merely clerical in nature or changes that extend homestead treatment to property are permitted after adjournment until the tax extension date for that assessment year. Any changes made by the assessor after adjournment must be fully documented and maintained in a file in the assessor’s office and shall be available for review by any person. A copy of any changes made during this period shall be sent to the county board no later than December 31 of the assessment year. In the event a valuation and classification is not placed on any real property by the dates scheduled for the local board of review or equalization the valuation and classification determined in the preceding assessment shall be continued in effect and the provisions of section 273.13 shall, in such case, not be applicable, except with respect to real estate which has been constructed since the previous assessment. Real property containing iron ore, the fee to which is owned by the state of Minnesota, shall, if leased by the state after January 2 in any year, be subject to assessment for that year on the value of any iron ore removed under said lease prior to January 2 of the following year. Personal property subject to taxation shall be listed and assessed annually with reference to its value on January 2; and, if acquired on that day, shall be listed by or for the person acquiring it
What if I don't let the assessor inside my home?
It is your right to decline an interior inspection. The assessor will then make reasonable estimations regarding the property’s interior finish and quality. If you disagree with the resulting valuation the local board of review is not allowed to make any changes in your favor until you allow the assessor to inspect the property. See below Minnesota Statute 273.20 and Minnesota Statute 274.01, for more information.
- Minnesota Statute 273.20 – ASSESSOR MAY ENTER DWELLINGS, BUILDINGS OR STRUCTURES.
- Any officer authorized by law to assess property for taxation may, when necessary to the proper performance of their duties, enter any dwelling, house, building, or structure and view the same and the property therein. Any officer authorized by law to assess property for ad valorem tax purposes shall have reasonable access to land and structures as necessary for the proper performance of their duties. A property owner may refuse to allow an assessor to inspect their property. This refusal by the property owner must be either verbal or expressly stated in a letter to the county assessor. If the assessor is denied access to view a property, the assessor is authorized to estimate the property’s estimated market value by making assumptions believed appropriate concerning the property’s finish and condition.
- 274.01 BOARD OF APPEAL AND EQUALIZATION.
- (b) The board may not make an individual market value adjustment or classification change that would benefit the property if the owner or other person having control over the property has refused the assessor access to inspect the property and the interior of any buildings or structures as provided in section 273.20
What is the homestead market value exclusion?
The homestead market value exclusion is a property tax program that the Minnesota Legislature passed in 2011 to replace the homestead credit. Homestead market value exclusion effectively reduces a property’s taxable market value for a property that is occupied as a person’s primary place of residence.
Is the amount of the homestead market value exclusion the same amount on all properties?
No. The homestead market value exclusion is based on a number of factors, including property market value. Generally, the market value exclusion’s affect on taxes payable declines as a property value increases. Effective for the 2024 assessment year, the overall value qualifying for the homestead exclusion will increase to $517,200. There are also different credits for disabled persons and blind persons.
What is the benefit of the homestead market exclusion?
The benefit of the homestead market exclusion is that it provides for lower property taxes on a property that qualifies versus one that doesn’t. Below is an example of the tax amount calculation.
What are the requirements for homestead classification?
To qualify, you must:
- Occupy the property listed on the application as your primary residence;
- Be one of the owners of the property listed on the application, or a qualifying relative;
- Be a Minnesota resident.
Starting June 1, 2022 a driver’s license or ID card is required for all applicants to apply for homestead classification in Pope County. You must be occupying the property and have your driver’s license or ID card changed to the address in which you are applying for homestead. All applicants must provide a copy of the front side of driver’s license or ID card. The Pope County Assessor’s office may request annually, copies of driver’s licenses, ID cards or other information to prove occupancy. Please contact our office at 320-634-7715, should you have any questions.
You are considered a Minnesota resident if all or some of the following conditions apply to you:
- You are registered to vote in Minnesota
- You have a valid Minnesota driver’s license
- You file a Minnesota income tax return
- You list a property in Minnesota as your permanent mailing address
- You are employed by a business located in Minnesota
- Your children, if any, attend school in Minnesota, and/or
- You are not a resident of any other state or country
Why do you need my social security number?
State law (MS 273.124, Subd. 9 & 13) requires that the Social Security numbers and signatures of each occupant who is listed as an owner of the property be listed on the application. If the owner’s spouse is not listed as an owner of the property, the social security number of the owner’s spouse must also be furnished. An Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN) can now be used in place of a Social Security number.
You may refuse to provide this information, but refusal will disqualify you from receiving homestead classification.
Social Security numbers are confidential information. Under state law (MS 273.124, Subd. 13) they may be given by your County Assessor to the Minnesota Department of Revenue to determine whether you or the owner of the property to whom you are related have applied for the homestead classification for other properties.
Are there penalties for claiming a false homestead?
A property owner who obtains or attempts to obtain homestead classification for a property other than his or her primary place of residence or the primary place of residence of his or her relative is under state law subject to a fine of up to $3,000 and/or up to one year of imprisonment (MS 609.41). In addition, the property owner will be required to pay all tax which is due on the property based on its correct property class plus a penalty equal to the difference between the tax based on the homestead classification and that based on the property’s correct class (MS 273.124, Subd. 13).
Property Tax FAQs
What factors affect my property taxes?
There are a number of items that affect your property taxes. The following are those that traditionally have had the largest impacts:
- Changes to the tax levy (amount of money requested by taxing jurisdictions for operations) made by the city, county, school district or special taxing districts.
- Changes to the market value estimate of your property.
- Changes in the market values for the area or a particular type of property.
- Legislative changes to the property classification rates, state aid formulas and other tax laws.
- Legislative unfunded mandates (usually seen as an increase in local government tax levy).
- New taxes approved by referendum.
Calculating Property Tax
In its simplest form, the yearly tax due for each property mainly depends on:
- Local budget and tax calculations
- Value and use (classification) of the property
- Tax credits or programs that may reduce the tax due
- Additional school or state property taxes that apply to certain properties
The full calculation can be complex. This overview explains the broad calculations and formulas. Please contact our office at 320-634-7715 if you have questions specific to your property.
Local Tax and Calculations
Local and county officials calculate how much money they need to raise from property taxes and their resulting local tax rate.
Step 1: Towns, cities, schools, and counties calculate how much property tax revenue is needed, known as the Local Tax Levy:
Total Proposed Local Budget – Non-Property Tax Revenue = Local Tax Levy
Step 2: The levy is spread among all taxable properties according to their Tax Capacity:
Taxable Market Value X Classification Rate = Tax Capacity
Step 3: The levy and total tax capacity (for all properties) are used to calculate the Local Tax Rate:
Local Tax Levy / Total Tax Capacity = Local Tax Rate
Step 4: For each property, the county auditor determines if any tax credits or additional taxes apply:
- Property Tax Credits (for certain types of properties or programs)
- Referendum Levies (additional school levies approved by voters)
- State General Tax (additional state levy on certain types of property)
Property Tax Formula
The county auditor determines the tax due for each property using this basic formula:
- Taxable Market Value X Class Rate = Tax Capacity
- Tax Capacity X Local Tax Rates = Base Tax
- Base Tax – Credits + Referendum Levy and State General Tax = Property Tax Due
Above information pulled from the Minnesota Department of Revenue website.
Understanding Property Tax
Your property tax bill is composed of local and state property taxes. Local property taxes can help fund local programs and services, such as public schools, fire and police protection, streets, libraries, and more. State property taxes fund school districts, towns, cities, counties and other special taxing districts.
Some properties such as seasonal cabin and commercial-industrial are also subject to state property tax. This state general tax goes into the state general fund.
For further information, visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue website.
Why are taxes on lakeshore property higher than off-lake property?
The reason lakeshore property usually pays more taxes than a similar property not on the lake is due to the value of the lakeshore frontage. Property taxes are based partially on value; and the higher the value, the higher the tax. Sales prove that lakeshore in most cases is much more valuable than other land types. Each lake has its land valued according to the price buyers will pay which varies greatly from one lake to another, depending on the popularity of the lake. Other factors such as school district and township or city tax rates will affect the level of taxes from one property to another. When comparing value or taxes, always make sure you are comparing comparable properties in an area of similar tax rates.