How Is a Local Property Tax Assessor Chosen?

Local property tax assessor positions are either appointed or elected positions, depending on the governing laws of the municipality. In New York state, tax assessors are appointed and elected. In the state of Washington, tax assessors are elected to the job. Aspiring tax assessors should inquire about procedures to qualify for the position at local government offices responsible property taxation.

Tax assessors evaluate the real estate market value of all taxable properties within a local municipality and then calculate how much in property taxes is owed on those properties. In order to accurately gauge property values, tax assessors evaluate parcel maps and current real estate market trends. At times, assessors must do physical inspections of properties to determine if a property's value needs changing. Property evaluations done by the local tax assessor are made public, and taxpayers have the right to appeal an assessment.

Tax assessors might perform other roles such as approving property tax exemptions for senior homeowners or serving as a voter registrar. Some states give tax assessors the authority to hire and fire staff, if the position requires supervising employees. In New York, the tax assessor must attend all public meetings of the Board of Assessment Review. Ongoing training is a common requirement for this position, and the assessor must complete a specific amount of continuing education approved by the state.