Frequently Asked Questions

The assessor is required to list and value all property subject to ad valorem taxation on an assessment 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 assessor does not raise or lower taxes. The assessor does not make the laws which affect property owners. The Constitution of the State of Louisiana, as adopted by the voters, provides the basic framework for taxation, and tax laws are made by the Louisiana Legislature. The rules and regulations for assessment are set by the Louisiana Tax Commission. The tax dollars are levied by the taxing bodies, such as the police jury, school board, etc., and are collected by the Sheriff's Office as Ex-Officio Tax Collector. The assessor's office has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes collected. The assessor's primary responsibility is to determine the "fair market value" of your property so that you pay only your fair share of the taxes. The amount of taxes you pay is determined by the "millage rate", which is applied to your property's assessed value. The millage rate, as voted by the public, is levied by all the taxing agencies within the district, city, parish, or state. This includes school districts, police juries, law enforcement districts, etc. The millage rate is the basis for the budget needed or demanded by the voters to provide for services such as schools, roads, law enforcement, etc. Millage rates are simply those rates which will provide funds to pay for those services.

Fair market value is defined by Louisiana Revised Statute 47:2321 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 the 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 legally used."

Finding the "fair market value" of your property involves discovering the price most people would pay for it in its present condition in the current open market. It is not quite that simple, however, because the market and the condition of the home are constantly changing.

To arrive at the "fair market value" for your property, the assessor must know what "willing sellers" and "willing buyers" are doing in the marketplace. The assessor 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 may use any of the three nationally recognized approaches to value, those being cost, income, and market. This data is then correlated into a final value estimate by the appraiser. After your appraisal has been made, the appropriate percentage of value, or level of assessment, required by law is calculated as your "assessed value".

In Louisiana the classification of property subject to ad valorem taxation and the percentage of fair market value applicable to each classification for the purpose of determining assessed value is as follows:

Classifications Percentages
1. Land 10%
2. Improvements for Residential (Including Apartments) 10%
3. Improvements for Commercial 15%
4. Business Movable Property (Personal) 15%
5. Public Service (Excluding Land) 25%

Bona fide agricultural, horticultural, marsh and timber lands as defined by Revenue Statues shall be assessed for tax purposes at 10% of use value rather than market value. These values are set by Louisiana Tax Commission.

As a taxpayer, you have a certain legal responsibility to furnish accurate information on your property. Our office welcomes all information provided by the property owner. If you have complied with these legal requirements, you are entitled to question the value placed on your property. If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessor's, you may come to our office to discuss the matter in person. Be prepared to show evidence that the assessor's valuation of the property is incorrect. Our staff will be glad to answer your questions about the assessor's appraisal. If, after discussing the matter with the assessor, a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal your assessment to the Red River Parish Board of Review according to procedures. After reviewing your appeal, if the Board agrees with the assessor and a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal the Board's decision to the Louisiana State Tax Commission. If the Commission agrees with the Board and the assessor, you can plead your case before the courts should you choose to do so.

The Louisiana State Constitution provides for the exemption of resident homeowners to the extent of a $7,500 assessed valuation ($75,000 home) or 160 acres of land. The homestead exemption is applied toward parish taxes. City and municipal taxes are not exempt. The main requirement to apply for homestead is to maintain your property as your sole place of residency, and you do not claim a homestead exemption on any other property. Mobile home owners are also allowed this exemption, even though they may not own the land on which the mobile home is located. If you acquire additional property at a later date, which property adjoins and is maintained as a part of your residence property, an additional homestead exemption must be applied for. The limitation of $7,500 of assessed value or 160 acres cannot be exceeded. Application for Homestead Exemption can be made between January 1st and December 31st of the tax year.

If it is determined that your property is eligible for a homestead exemption, you must come by our office and make application for it. Once you have signed your homestead exemption, it is in effect permanently, as long as you own and reside at that location. If anything happens that affects the ownership of your property, it is your responsibility to notify our office to determine future homestead eligibility.

The homestead exemption does extend to the following:

  1. surviving spouse
  2. surviving spouse as usufructuary
  3. testamentary trust established for the benefit of the surviving spouse and the descendants of the deceased spouse or surviving spouse trust when the principal beneficiary or beneficiaries of the trust are the settlor or settlors of the trust and were the immediate prior owners of the homestead
  4. usufructuaries (no more than 2) who were the immediate prior owners of the homestead
  5. property owned in indivision, limited to the pro-rata ownership interest of the person(s) occupying the homestead
  6. residential lessees who own and occupy a residence, including mobile homes, but do not own the land upon which the residence is situated

The homestead exemption does NOT extend to the following:
  1. bond for deed purchases
  2. property owned by a partnership or corporation
  3. property held for commercial purposes
  4. the portion of income producing property not occupied by the owner as his/her primary residence
  5. purchase arrangements which do not transfer title, i.e., lease purchase agreements

For further detailed information regarding homestead exemption, please view CONST 7:20 from the Louisiana State Legislature.

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 Parish is made up of different “tax units” that are the different scenarios of tax rates. A tax unit map is attached on the website. The tax monies collected for the districts go to pay for schools, roads, law enforcement, fire protection, and other services that the taxpayers demand and desire from 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 or millage rate to arrive at the amount due. If, as an example, you have $1000 of taxable assessed value and the tax rate is 90 mills, you would pay $1000 x .090 = $90 in taxes. If your home is valued at $100,000, and you are eligible and have signed for homestead exemption, you would calculate your taxes as follows:

$100,000(Fair Market Value)
x 10%(Level of Assessment)

$10,000 (Assessed Value)
- 7,500 (Maximum Homestead Exemption)

$2,500 (Taxable value)
x 0.09 (Tax rate)

$300 (Total Parish Taxes Due)

Note: The example is for parish taxes only, as homestead exemption does not apply to city taxes or extra "fees".

When additional taxes are voted by the people, an individual's property tax bill will increase. Also, when market value increases, 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" increases, and therefore, the assessed value would also increase. The assessor has not created the value. People make value by their transactions in the marketplace. The assessor simply has the legal and moral responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly.

Even if you do not receive a tax notice, it is your responsibility to be sure that the property taxes have been paid. You may contact the appropriate tax collector (Parish or City) to determine the amount of property taxes owed and whether or not the taxes have been paid.

Any property with outstanding parish taxes owed is subject to an annual public sale held by the authorized tax collector. Any property not purchased by individuals through the public sale, is then adjudicated to the governing authority. These sales are held by the parish tax collector, who publishes a list of the tax debtors and notice of the upcoming tax sale, several times in a local newspaper. The delinquent property owner has five years from the date of the tax purchase to redeem the property by paying all of the outstanding property taxes to date, penalties and interest. It is important to note, that the assessor does not collect the taxes, nor do they keep a list of properties subject to impending tax sales. The parish tax sale is held by the Red River Parish Sheriff usually in the month of May. Please contact the respective tax collector for more information as to the date and time of its tax sale.

The additional homestead applies if you qualify for homestead (own and occupy) and you are 100% service related disabled. You must get a form from the Veterans Administration that states you are 100% disabled. You can then qualify for up to $75,000 additional homestead if you meet these qualifications.

A Special Assessment level applies to the homestead of persons 65 and older if they have made less than $100,000 in adjusted gross income. This special assessment level freezes the assessed value at the current level. To qualify you must come into our office and file a special form. You also must bring in proof of income for the previous year, Income Tax Return if you file an Income Tax Return or the Social Security Benefits Earnings Statement if you are not required to file a return. This Special Assessment Level is lost if the property is transferred or improvements are made in excess of 25% of property value. The freeze is permanent unless one of previous mentioned reasons for losing this freeze occurs. The surviving spouse can qualify if they are over 55 and meets the other qualifications of the exemption.

A Special Assessment level can apply to the homestead of persons that are disabled if they have made less than $100,000 in adjusted gross income. You can qualify for the disability freeze if you are 100% disabled for Social Security disability or 50% disabled Veteran for service related disability. This special assessment level freezes the assessed value at the current level. To qualify you must come into our office and file a special form. You also must bring in proof of income for the previous year, Income Tax Return if you file an Income Tax Return or the Social Security Benefits Earnings Statement if you are not required to file a return. This Special Assessment Level is lost if the property is transferred or improvements are made in excess of 25% of property value. You must bring in a statement from the Social Security stating you are 100% disabled or a statement from the Veterans Administration stating that you are 50% service related disability. This assessment level freeze has to be applied for each year and is not permanent like the senior level freeze.