Alabama Property Taxes
Overview of Alabama Property Taxes
Unless exempted, every homeowner in Alabama must pay property taxes every year. Alabama property taxes are administered by local taxing authorities and are a major source of revenue for local governments, paying for services like law enforcement, fire responders, garbage pickup, and municipal infrastructure. Each year, the state and its local governments collect $40 billion in taxes. Of that, 2.8 billion or 7.09% of total revenue is from property taxes.
Generally, Alabama is a low tax state as indicated by the lower percentage of property taxes compared to total revenue. The average Alabama property tax bill adds up to $658 with homeowners paying $4.16 for every $1,000 of home value in property taxes. However, that figure depends on the location of your property. For instance, homeowners in Jefferson County pay an average of $1,244 while those in Perry County pay $209.
How do Alabama property taxes work? The taxes are based on your property's value. The local tax assessor's office appraises property to determine its "market value", or the amount the property would sell for in the open market. An assessment ratio is then applied to the appraised value to get the assessed value. State laws require that residential properties be assessed at 10% of their market value. If, for instance, your home has an appraised value of $200,000, the assessed value will be ($200,000 x 10%) $20,000. Tax rates are then applied to that amount to get your annual Alabama property tax bill.
Alabama property tax rates are expressed in "mills" where a mill is equal to one-tenth of a percent or 0.001. The mill rates vary from county to county. For the 2020-21 financial year, the statewide millage is 6.5 (0.0065) in addition to other rates charged by the local taxing authorities that include counties, school districts, and municipalities.
If you are planning to buy a home in Alabama and want to understand how much your property tax bill could potentially cost, check out our Alabama Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
Alabama Property Tax Due Dates
The tax year in Alabama starts from Oct. 1 adn runs through Sept. 30. The state requires that properties be assessed annually as of October 1. Value notices are mailed to homeowners in Jan-Dec. The state always you to appeal property taxes if you disagree with your property's valuation within 30 days of receiving the Value Notice. The appeal process starts with consulting the assessor with your objections. The assessor examines your evidence objecting to the valuation and may accept or reject the appeal. If you are not satisfied with the assessor's decision, you can appeal with the Board of Equalization (BOE). Further appeal avenues are available with the Circuit Court.
But when are property taxes due in Alabama? Alabama property taxes are due on October 1. The taxes are paid in arrears and the tax bill is sent to the owner of the property as of the preceding October 1. You have until December 31 to pay the taxes without penalties. Taxes that remain unpaid after Alabama property tax due dates result in a penalty computed at 10%. Delinquent tax notices are sent to homeowners on January 1. You have until January 16 to pay the taxes in person to avoid the Delinquent Legal Ad in the local newspapers which comes with additional costs.
The state conducts an Annual Tax Sale in May to auction properties whose taxes have not been paid. Homeowners can redeem their property within three years of the tax sale through the probate judge's office. However, you can only redeem your property after paying the delinquent Alabama property taxes, accrued interest, and other costs.
Alabama Property Tax Exemptions
Besides the option to appeal property taxes if you believe your property is wrongly valued, the state of Alabama offers several exemptions to eligible homeowners. The exemptions can significantly reduce your Alabama property tax bill. They include the homestead and senior exemptions. However, even eligible homeowners are still subject to Alabama property tax due dates.
Alabama Homestead Exemption
The homestead exemption is granted to homeowners of a single-family residence used as a primary residence. The exemption is not automatic and homeowners have to apply. The exemption exempts $4,000 of your property's assessed value from Alabama property taxes and $2,000 of the assessed value for county taxes.
Alabama Senior Citizens Exemption
Alabama's senior exemption is an extension of the homestead exemption. It is available for homeowners who are aged 65 or older and who meet certain gross income requirements. Eligible homeowners receive an exemption equal to $2,000 of their property's assessed value in county taxes. More information about the several homestead exemptions can be found on the Alabama Department of Revenue's website.
Other Alabama property tax exemptions include the disabled veterans' exemption. Under this provision, a disabled veteran receives full exemption from property taxes if they are 100% disabled as a result of military service. The unmarried, surviving spouse of an eligible veteran may also receive a basic exemption if their assessed value doesn't exceed $100,000. The Alabama Department of Revenue's website has more details about this exemption.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Alabama
You can appeal property taxes in Alabama if you have reasons and evidence showing that your property was valued above its market value. A successful appeal can lower your Alabama property taxes. The first step of appeal is consulting the appraiser/assessor's office within 30 days from the date of the Notice of Value. The office examines the evidence you present challenging the valuation. Most of the differences are cleared during this meeting. However, if there is still a difference of opinion, a hearing is set for you before the Board of Equalization (BOE). The board examines the information that you believe justifies your opinion of value and decides accordingly. If you are dissatisfied with the board's decision, you can appeal to the Circuit Court within 30 days of receiving the BOE's decision. To preserve your right to appeal to the Circuit Court, you must have paid your Alabama property taxes by December 31.
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across Alabama though it generally follows the same steps from county to county:
- Obtain your assessment
- Determine if you are overassessed
- Complete forms needed to appeal
- File property tax appeal
- Prepare for hearing
- Attend hearing
- Appeal the decision
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Jefferson County
To help you understand how to appeal your property taxes in Alabama, here is a breakdown of the process in Jefferson County, the most populous county in Alabama. It is noteworthy that you can only appeal the property's valuation, not the tax rates.
Obtain your assessment
Your assessment details can be obtained from your Notice of Valuation. Alternatively, you can consult the local Assessor's Office.
Determine if you are over-assessed
A good way to determine if your valuation reflects the market value of your property is by checking the sales prices of similar units within your locality. Use TaxProper's search tool to look for similar properties that have been recently sold and see how their selling prices compare to your property's appraised value. You can also obtain details of the sales used to develop your property's value on the assessor's website.
Complete forms needed to appeal
The forms you need to appeal property taxes are attached to your Notice of Valuation. Alternatively, you may obtain the forms from the Assessor's Office.
File property tax appeal
You must file a written or online appeal with the Board of Equalization.
Prepare for hearing
Preparation for a property tax appeal hearing includes presenting evidence justifying your opinion of value. This can include but is not limited to closing statements, recent fee appraisals, photos, and comparable sales.
It is advisable to attend a property tax appeal hearing, but the BOE does not require you to. You may submit your evidence in writing for it to be considered by the board. However, only property owners or their agents are eligible to speak before the board.
Appeal the decision
Decisions by the Board of Equalization can be appealed to the Circuit Court within 30 days of receiving the board's decision.
Property Tax Information for Alabama Counties
The table below provides county-level information about how property taxes work in each Alabama county.
Want to learn more? Click the county links to learn more about a specific Alabama county.
|County||Average Home Value||Average Tax Bill||Bill per $1,000|
|St. Clair County||$152,929||$448||$2.90|