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 a change in ownership or of a land conveyance resulting in a change of ownership, EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF LAND SPLITS, to change the current ownership records; amending sections 15-7-102, 15-8-201, and 15-10-305, MCA; and providing a delayed effective date and an applicability date.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Land split. 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 15-7-102, 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 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 15-10-305(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 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.
(b) 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. 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].
Section 6. Applicability. [This act] applies to all conveyances and transfers of property resulting in a change of ownership effective after December 31, 1997.
Section 7. Effective date -- rulemaking. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), [this act] is effective January 1, 1998.
(2) The department may commence rulemaking to implement the provisions of [this act] prior to January 1, 1998, but the date rules are adopted implementing [this act] may not be earlier than January 1, 1998.