Senate Bill No. 372
Introduced By waterman
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act requiring the department of revenue, upon a timely showing
of reliable evidence of a
change in ownership or reliable evidence of a land split CONVEYANCE resulting in a change of ownership, EXCEPT IN
THE CASE OF LAND SPLITS, to change the current ownership records; providing that at the option of the taxpayers in a
land split the department may recompute the current year's taxes based upon the percentage of ownership of each owner;
amending sections 15-7-304 15-7-102, 15-8-201, AND 15-10-305, and 15-16-101, MCA; and providing a delayed effective
date and an applicability date."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
NEW SECTION. Section 1. Land split.
A FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS TITLE, A land split is the conveyance or
transfer of a portion of a parcel of land that will require the department to change its ownerships records for the original
parcel to show the creation of one or more new parcels under a new ownership. Section 2. Section 15-7-304, MCA, is amended to read: "15-7-304. Report of transfers -- change of ownership records. (1) All transfers of real property that are not evidenced
by a recorded document, except those transfers otherwise provided for in this part, must be reported to the department on
the form prescribed. (2) (a) The department is not required to change any ownership records used for the assessment or taxation of real property
unless the department has received receives a transfer certificate from the clerk and recorder or other reliable evidence that
demonstrates that the grantee is the owner of the property for tax purposes and the transfer has been reported to the
department as provided by rule. If the grantor on the transfer certificate is not the person to whom the property is assessed
on the property tax record, the department may not substitute the grantee's name on the certificate for the name of the
current person listed on the property tax record, but the department shall add the grantee's name to the property tax record
with the name of the person to whom the property is assessed. The department shall mail notification of the change to the
person to whom the property is assessed and to the grantee. The department shall substitute the grantee's name on the
property tax record when reliable evidence demonstrates that the grantee is the owner of the property for tax purposes. (b) If the parties to a land split wish to receive separate tax notices for each parcel in the land split in the current year they
shall provide a reallocation percentage to the department. The department shall provide a space on the transfer certificate
for the parties to list the percentage of assessed value that each party received of the total assessed value of the land, the
improvements, and any personal property subject to tax liens against the real property. The department shall use the
percentage as the basis for dividing the assessed value among the parties if reliable evidence demonstrates that the grantee
is the owner of the property for tax purposes and the evidence has been provided and processed prior to the time taxes are
determined. If the parties to a conveyance do not list a reallocation percentage or do not provide reliable evidence that
demonstrates that the grantee is the owner of the property for tax purposes or if the request is untimely, the department shall
add the grantee's name to the property tax statement along with the name of the person to whom the property has previously
SECTION 2. SECTION 15-7-102, MCA, IS AMENDED TO READ:
"15-7-102. Notice of classification and appraisal to owners -- appeals. (1) (a) The department shall mail to each owner or purchaser under contract for deed a notice of the classification of the land owned or being purchased and the appraisal of the improvements on the land only if one or more of the following changes pertaining to the land or improvements have been made since the last notice:
(i) change in ownership;
(ii) change in classification;
(iii) change in valuation; or
(iv) addition or subtraction of personal property affixed to the land.
(b) The notice must include the following for the taxpayer's informational purposes:
(i) the total amount of mills levied against the property in the prior year;
(ii) the amount of the prior year's taxes resulting from levied mills;
(iii) an estimate of the current year's taxes based on the prior year's mills; and
(iv) a statement that the notice is not a tax bill.
(c) Any misinformation provided in the information required by subsection (1)(b) does not affect the validity of the notice and may not be used as a basis for a challenge of the legality of the notice.
The Except as provided in subsection (2)(c), the department shall assign each assessment to the correct owner or
purchaser under contract for deed and mail the notice of classification and appraisal on a standardized form, adopted by the
department, containing sufficient information in a comprehensible manner designed to fully inform the taxpayer as to the
classification and appraisal of the property and of changes over the prior tax year.
(b) The notice must advise the taxpayer that in order to be eligible for a refund of taxes from an appeal of the classification or appraisal, the taxpayer is required to pay the taxes under protest as provided in 15-1-402.
(c) The department is not required to mail the notice of classification and appraisal to a new owner or purchaser under contract for deed unless the department has received the transfer certificate from the clerk and recorder as provided in 15-7-304 and has processed the certificate before the notices required by subsection (2)(a) are mailed. The date of mailing is the date reported to the county tax appeal board pursuant to 15-15-101.
(3) If the owner of any land and improvements is dissatisfied with the appraisal as it reflects the market value of the property as determined by the department or with the classification of the land or improvements, the owner may request an assessment review by submitting an objection in writing to the department, on forms provided by the department for that purpose, within 30 days after receiving the notice of classification and appraisal from the department. The review must be conducted informally and is not subject to the contested case procedures of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act. As a part of the review, the department may consider the actual selling price of the property, independent appraisals of the property, and other relevant information presented by the taxpayer in support of the taxpayer's opinion as to the market value of the property. The department shall give reasonable notice to the taxpayer of the time and place of the review. After the review, the department shall determine the correct appraisal and classification of the land or improvements and notify the taxpayer of its determination. In the notification, the department shall state its reasons for revising the classification or appraisal. When the proper appraisal and classification have been determined, the land must be classified and the improvements appraised in the manner ordered by the department.
(4) Whether a review as provided in subsection (3) is held or not, the department may not adjust an appraisal or classification upon the taxpayer's objection unless:
(a) the taxpayer has submitted an objection in writing; and
(b) the department has stated its reason in writing for making the adjustment.
(5) A taxpayer's written objection to a classification or appraisal and the department's notification to the taxpayer of its determination and the reason for that determination are public records. The department shall make the records available for inspection during regular office hours.
(6) If any property owner feels aggrieved by the classification or appraisal made by the department after the review provided for in subsection (3), the property owner has the right to first appeal to the county tax appeal board and then to the state tax appeal board, whose findings are final subject to the right of review in the courts. The appeal to the county tax appeal board must be filed within 30 days after notice of the department's determination is mailed to the taxpayer. A county tax appeal board or the state tax appeal board may consider the actual selling price of the property, independent appraisals of the property, and other relevant information presented by the taxpayer as evidence of the market value of the property. If the county tax appeal board or the state tax appeal board determines that an adjustment should be made, the department shall adjust the base value of the property in accordance with the board's order."
Section 3. Section 15-8-201, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-8-201. General assessment day. (1) The department shall, between January 1 and the second Monday of July in each year, ascertain the names of all taxable inhabitants and assess all property subject to taxation in each county.
(2) The department shall assess property to:
(a) the person by whom it was owned or claimed or in whose possession or control it was at midnight of the preceding January 1; or
(b) EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF LAND SPLITS, the new owner if
reliable evidence THE PROVISIONS OF 15-7-304
HAVE BEEN MET AND THE TRANSFER CERTIFICATE has been received and processed prior to determining the
taxes that are due as provided in 15-7-302(2)(a) 15-10-305(2).
(3) The department shall also ascertain and assess all mobile homes arriving in the county after midnight of the preceding January 1.
(4) A mistake in the name of the owner or supposed owner of real property does not invalidate the assessment.
(2)(5) The procedure provided by this section does not apply to:
(a) motor vehicles that are required by 15-8-202 to be assessed on January 1 or upon their anniversary registration date;
(b) motor homes, travel trailers, and campers;
(e) property defined in 61-1-104 as "special mobile equipment" that is subject to assessment for personal property taxes on the date that application is made for a special mobile equipment plate;
(f) mobile homes held by a distributor or dealer of mobile homes as stock in trade; and
(g) property subject to the provisions of 15-16-203.
(3)(6) Credits must be assessed as provided in 15-1-101(1)(f)."
Section 4. Section 15-10-305, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-10-305. Clerk and recorder to report mill levy -- department to compute and enter taxes. (1) (a)
The Except as
provided in subsection (1)(b), the THE county clerk and recorder shall by the third Monday in August notify the
department of the number of mills needed to be levied for each taxing jurisdiction in the county. The EXCEPT AS
PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (1)(B), THE department shall compute the taxes by multiplying the number of mills times
the taxable value of the property to be taxed and shall add any fees or assessments required to be levied against a person
owning property. All taxes, fees, and assessments must be itemized for the property listed in the property tax record.
The department shall MAY NOT compute the current year's taxes based upon the reallocation percentage provided for
in 15-7-304(2)(b) if the department is able to do so without violating FOR CONVEYANCES THAT RESULT IN A
LAND SPLIT, AS DESCRIBED IN [SECTION 1]. IN CONVEYANCES THAT RESULT IN A LAND SPLIT, THE
TAXES MUST BE BASED ON THE PROPERTY AS ASSESSED ON JANUARY 1 PRECEDING THE
CONVEYANCE. THE DEPARTMENT IS NOT REQUIRED TO INCLUDE THE NAME OF THE NEW OWNER IN
THE COMPUTATION OF THE AMOUNT OF TAXES, FEES, AND ASSESSMENTS TO BE LEVIED AGAINST
PROPERTY THAT IS PART OF A LAND CONVEYANCE IF INCLUDING THE NEW OWNER'S NAME WOULD
CAUSE THE DEPARTMENT TO VIOLATE the deadline provided in subsection (2).
(2) The department shall complete the computation of the amount of taxes, fees, and assessments to be levied against the property and shall notify the county clerk and recorder and the county treasurer by the second Monday in October."
Section 5. Section 15-16-101, MCA, is amended to read: "15-16-101. Treasurer to publish notice -- manner of publication. (1) Within 10 days after the receipt of the property
tax record, the county treasurer shall publish a notice specifying: (a) that one-half of all taxes levied and assessed will be due and payable before 5 p.m. on the next November 30 or within
30 days after the notice is postmarked and that unless paid prior to that time the amount then due will be delinquent and
will draw interest at the rate of 5/6 of 1% per month from the time of delinquency until paid and 2% will be added to the
delinquent taxes as a penalty; (b) that one-half of all taxes levied and assessed will be due and payable on or before 5 p.m. on the next May 31 and that
unless paid prior to that time the taxes will be delinquent and will draw interest at the rate of 5/6 of 1% per month from the
time of delinquency until paid and 2% will be added to the delinquent taxes as a penalty; and (c) the time and place at which payment of taxes may be made. (2) The county treasurer shall send to the last-known address of each taxpayer a written notice, postage prepaid, showing
the amount of taxes and assessments due for the current year, including taxes computed by the department due to
reallocation for land splits as provided in 15-7-304(2)(b), and the amount due and delinquent for other years. The written
notice must include: (a) the taxable value of the property; (b) the total mill levy applied to that taxable value; (c) the value of each mill in that county; (d) itemized city services and special improvement district assessments collected by the county; (e) the number of the school district in which the property is located; and (f) the amount of the total tax due that is levied as city tax, county tax, state tax, school district tax, and other tax. (3) The municipality shall, upon request of the county treasurer, provide the information to be included under subsection
(2)(d) ready for mailing. (4) The notice in every case must be published once a week for 2 weeks in a weekly or daily newspaper published in the
county, if there is one, or if there is not, then by posting it in three public places. Failure to publish or post notices does not
relieve the taxpayer from any tax liability. Any failure to give notice of the tax due for the current year or of delinquent tax
will not affect the legality of the tax."
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 15, chapter 7, part 1, and the provisions of Title 15, chapter 7, part 1, apply to [section 1].
NEW SECTION. Section 6. Applicability. (1) [This act] applies to all conveyances and transfers of property resulting in
a change of ownership effective after December 31,
(2) [THIS ACT] APPLIES TO TAX YEARS BEGINNING AFTER DECEMBER 31, 1998.
NEW SECTION. Section 7. Effective date -- rulemaking. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), [this act] is
effective January 1,
(2) The department may commence rulemaking to implement the provisions of [this act] prior to January 1,
1998 1999, but
the date rules are adopted implementing [this act] may not be earlier than January 1, 1998 1999.