15-7-139. Requirements for entry on property by property valuation staff employed by department -- authority to estimate value of property not entered -- rules. (1) Subject to the conditions and restriction of this section, the provisions of 45-6-203 do not apply to property valuation staff employed by the department and acting within the course and scope of the employees' official duties.
(2) A person qualified under subsection (1) may enter private land to appraise or audit property for property tax purposes.
(3) (a) No later than November 30 of each year, the department shall publish in a newspaper of general circulation in each county a notice that the department may enter property for the purpose of appraising or auditing property.
(b) The published notice must indicate:
(i) that a landowner may require that the landowner or the landowner's agent be present when the person qualified in subsection (1) enters the land to appraise or audit property;
(ii) that the landowner shall notify the department in writing of the landowner's requirement that the landowner or landowner's agent be present; and
(iii) that the landowner's written notice must be mailed to the department at an address specified and be postmarked not more than 30 days following the date of publication of the notice. The department may grant a reasonable extension of time for returning the written notice.
(4) The written notice described in subsection (3)(b)(ii) must be legible and include:
(a) the landowner's full name;
(b) the mailing address and property address; and
(c) a telephone number at which an appraiser may contact the landowner during normal business hours.
(5) When the department receives a written notice as described in subsection (4), the department shall contact the landowner or the landowner's agent to establish a date and time for entering the land to appraise or audit the property.
(6) If a landowner or the landowner's agent prevents a person qualified under subsection (1) from entering land to appraise or audit property or fails or refuses to establish a date and time for entering the land pursuant to subsection (5), the department shall estimate the value of the real and personal property located on the land.
(7) A county tax appeal board and the state tax appeal board may not adjust the estimated value of the real or personal property determined under subsection (6) unless the landowner or the landowner's agent:
(a) gives permission to the department to enter the land to appraise or audit the property; or
(b) provides to the department and files with the county tax appeal board or the state tax appeal board an appraisal of the property conducted by an appraiser who is certified by the Montana board of real estate appraisers. The appraisal must be conducted in accordance with current uniform standards of professional appraisal practice established for certified real estate appraisers under 37-54-403. The appraisal must be conducted within 1 year of the reappraisal base year provided for in 15-7-103(6) and must establish a separate market value for each improvement and the land.
(8) A person qualified under subsection (1) who enters land pursuant to this section shall carry on the person identification sufficient to identify the person and the person's employer and shall present the identification upon request.
(9) The authority granted by this section does not authorize entry into improvements, personal property, or buildings or structures without the permission of the owner or the owner's agent.
(10) Vehicular access to perform appraisals and audits is limited to established roads and trails, unless approval for other vehicular access is granted by the landowner.
(11) The department shall adopt rules that are necessary to implement 15-7-140 and this section. The rules must, at a minimum, establish procedures for granting a reasonable extension of time for landowners to respond to notices from the department.
History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 5, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 593, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 356, L. 2011.