Paige Lamkin, Tax Assessor-Collector
"Welcome to the Clay County Tax Collector web page. Here you will find information about our office and descriptions of our duties, plus our office address, telephone numbers, and email address."
The following is designed to give the Clay County taxpayer a brief overview of the duties, responsibilities and functions of your assessor's office and some information which might be of interest to the property owner.
Phone: (662) 494-3432
The assessor is required by the Mississippi Constitution to list and value all property subject to ad valorem taxation on an assesssment roll each year. The "ad valorem" basis for taxation means that all property should be taxed "according to value" which is the definition of ad valorem. The assessed value is the percentage of "fair market value" or "use value" as prescribed by law. Property is assessed as follows:
The Assessor does not raise or lower taxes. The assessor does not make the laws, which affect property owners. The Constitution of the State of Mississippi as adopted by the voters, provides the basic framework for taxation, and tax laws are made by the State Legislature. The rules and regulations for assessments are set by the State Tax Commission. The tax dollars are levied by the taxing bodies, such as the School Board, City Aldermen, and Board of Supervisors.
To arrive at "fair market value" for your property, the assessor must know what "willing sellers" and willing buyers" are doing in the market place. He must also keep current on cost of construction in the area and any changes in zoning, financing, and economic conditions, which may affect property values. The assessor uses the three national recognized appraisal approaches to value, those being cost, income, and market. This data is then correlated into a final value estimated by the appraiser. After your appraisal has been made, the appropriate percentage of value required by law is calculated as your "assessed value."
Fair market value is defined by Mississippi Appraisal Institute as follows: "Fair Market Value is the price for property which would be agreed upon between a willing and informed buyer and a willing and informed seller under usual and ordinary circumstances; it shall be the highest price estimated in terms of money which property will bring, if exposed for sale, on the open market with reasonable time allowed to find a purchaser who is buying with knowledge of all the uses and purposes to which the property is best adapted and for which it can be leagally used"
Tax rates are based on millages, bond issues, and fees that have been voted by registered voters in the various districts which have been established by the Legislature or Constitution. The tax monies collected for the districts go to pay for schools, roads, law enforcement, fire protection, and other services that tax payers demand and desire for local government. To calculate the taxes on your property, you must take the assessed value, which is a percentage of "fair market value", and multiply it by the appropriate tax millage rate to arrive at the amount due. If, as an example, you have $1000 of taxable assessed value and the appropriate rate is 45 mills, you would pay $1000 x .045 = $45 in taxes. If your home is valued at $100,000 and assessed at 10 percent, or $10,000 and you are eligible and have filed for homestead exemption, you would calculate your taxes as follows:
When additional taxes are voted by the people, an individual's property tax bill will increase. Also, when market values increase, naturally, so does the assessed value. If you were to make improvements to your existing property for instance, add a garage, an additional room, or a swimming pool, the "fair market value" and, therefore, the assessed value would also increase. The assessor has not created the value. People make value by their transaction in the marketplace. The assessor simply has the legal and moral responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.
As a taxpayer, you have certain legal responsibilites to furnish correct information on your property to the assessor's office. If you have complied with these legal requirements, you are entitled to question values placed on your property. If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessor's, by all means go to the office and discuss the matter. Be prepared to show evidence that their valuation is too high. The staff will be glad to answer your questions about the assessor's appraisal, explaining how it was done. The assessor's office must rely on the property owner for information, and you can help by providing accurate data. If, after discussing the matter with the assessor, a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal your assessment to the County Board of Supervisors. If the Board, after hearing your petition, agrees with the assessor, you may appeal this decision to the Mississippi Sate Tax Commission. If the Commission agrees with Board and the assessor, you can then plead your case before the courts should you choose to do so.
The office of the Tax Collector is established by Article 5, Section 135 of the Mississippi Constitution. This position is elected for a four-year term by the county at large. The Tax Collector is responsible for the collection of taxes on real property, personal property, manufactured homes, automobiles, motorcycles, motor homes, trailers and airplanes.
Statute allows the payment of real property taxes in installments as long as the first payment is at least one-half of the taxes due and is made by February 1st following the tax year for which payment is collected. Installment payments are subject to 1% per month interest on the unpaid balance for the second and third payments.
Use tax is collected on items brought to the State of Mississippi by residents for first use, storage or consumption. Sales Tax is collected on casual sales of motor vehicles between individuals.
The Tax Collector must advertise and hold a tax sale once a year for any unpaid taxes on real estate or any special assessments. Accurate records must be kept at all times, since this office is involved in the collection of taxes that help fund a variety of government services.
Homestead exemption is a law passed by the legislature in 1936 to give homeowners a reduction on their property taxes. To receive this tax break you must:
The right to the exemption shall be determined according to the facts existing on January 1 of each year.
The County Land Tax Sale will be held on August 29, 2011 at 9am upstairs in the Courthouse. Please contact the Tax Office to pre-register prior to the sale.
Clay County, MS