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The Cochise County Assessor's Office has the responsibility to locate, identify and value all locally assessable property within Cochise County at fair market value as defined by Arizona State Constitution and Title 42 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. This office maintains current property ownership records and property assessment maps. Exemptions for qualifying organizations and individuals are processed annually as are Senior Property Valuation Protection Option applications.
Arizona Property Tax Process
The primary duty of the Assessor’s Office is to generate an annual assessment roll. The assessment roll must identify all land parcels within incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county. These parcels must be identified through legal description, must be mapped, and current ownership and mailing addresses must be maintained. The assessor must establish a full cash value for each parcel and for all structures and improvements located upon the land parcels. In addition, business and agricultural personal property must be determined annually and included on the assessment roll. Land and structures are assessed using standard mass appraisal methodology to determine the annual full cash value. Mobile homes are assessed using the statutory manufacturer’s list price methodology which is MLP listed on the title depreciated based on a market based depreciation schedule. Mobile homes are assessed as personal property unless they have been affixed to the land, in which case they are assessed as real property. Business and Agricultural personal property is assessed based on a depreciated acquisition price methodology.
Arizona law requires the Assessor to set values and notify property owners during the “valuation year” which is defined as the year prior to the “tax year”. The resulting notification and appeal process is always 1 ½ years prior to the issuance of the actual tax bill.
The Assessor’s Office is not a taxing jurisdiction and does not set tax rates. The Assessor reports the annual net assessed value to each of the 70 individual taxing jurisdictions in February. Once the net assessed value is provided to the taxing authorities, the Assessor’s Office function is complete.
The individual taxing jurisdictions (school districts, fire districts, special tax districts, cities, county, college district) then establish their annual tax rate based upon their determined budget and the net assessed value of their district. The taxing jurisdictions then submit their tax rate to the County Board of Supervisors to be ratified and final total tax rates are formalized by area code. All parcels within the county are identified by a specific tax area code (83 unique tax area codes exist) which identifies the taxing jurisdictions within which each parcel lies. The tax area code then ensures application of the correct tax rate to each parcel. Once this process is completed in late August, the property tax bills are processed, printed and mailed by the Board of Supervisors and County Treasurer.