What To Do When You Buy Property
New property owners often rely
on their real estate agent, attorney, or other representative to
properly record and assess their property. The final
responsibility is still YOURS, as the new owner, to see that all
the necessary steps have been completed.
The Steps are:
- Record your deed in the
Probate Judge's Office.
- Assess the property in the
Revenue Commissioner's Office.
- Claim any exemption do to
- Make sure all of this is
done no later than December 31 for all property purchased
before October 1, in order to receive a tax bill in your
name for the next year.
- If your mortgage company has
agreed to pay your property taxes, make sure we have the
proper name and address for the company.
- Report any address changes
What do I do if I have added or removed improvements to my
The law requires that owners,
or their agent, must call or come by the Revenue Commissioner's
Office no later than December 31st to sign a new assessment
officially reporting any improvements made to or any removal of
structures or features from their property on or before October
1st of that year.
Examples of improvements that
are assessable would include new structures or additions,
swimming pools, extensive repairs, remodeling or renovations;
adding a fireplace, extra bath, deck, carport, garage,
etc. However, such things as re-roofing, minor repairs and
painting (normal maintenance type items) would not require a
Colbert County has 42,000
separate parcels of land that must be individually appraised for
tax purposes. Each parcel of land must be described on a
property record card (or computer printout).
Characteristics about land and buildings are listed and valued
separately and become the basis for fair market value.
Improvements to the land
(buildings, garages, etc) are valued on a cost less depreciation
method based on fair market value.
Assessment of Property
Each taxpayer is required by
Alabama Law (Code 40-7-1) to provide a complete list of all
property which is owned. The person acquiring property is
responsible for reporting to the Revenue Commissioner a complete
legal description of the property and at that time should claim
any exemption he or he may be eligible for. The property
owner must report any changes in ownership to the Revenue
Commissioner. All assessments and bills are based on
ownership status as of October 1 each year.
occupied residential or farm property
or rental and all other property
A homestead exemption is given
to a property owner if he or she owns a single family residence
and occupies it on the first day of the tax year for which they
Regular Homestead is available
to all citizens of Alabama who own and occupy single family
residences, including manufactured homes. The amount of
exemption shall not exceed $4,000.00 (four thousand dollars) in
assessed value for state taxes and not exceed $2,000.00 (two
thousand dollars) for county taxes. If you are 65 years of
age or a permanently disabled homeowner you may be eligible for
a complete exemption of property taxes on the property where you
reside. Your net taxable income must be less than
$7,500.00 (seventy five hundred) for a complete exemption up to
$12,000.00 (twelve thousand) for a partial exemption. It
is the owners responsibility to let us know if you qualify.
Proof of age, when required,
may be established by a driver's license, birth certificate,
insurance forms, or other legal documents.
To prove disability, you must
furnish a statement from two different sources as to your
disability. Physician's letters, Veterans Administration
and retirement letters are all acceptable. Only one proof
is required if you have a letter from Social Security.
Exemptions should be applied
for before December 31st of each year based on status to qualify
for the next taxing or billing period. Renewals may be
done by mail.
Owners of farmland, pasture
land or timber land that is producing agricultural products,
livestock or wood products for sale to the general public may
apply for current use exemption. This exemption allows for
property to be appraised at less than fair market value when
used only for the purposes specified.
Any owner of eligible property
must make application to the Revenue Commissioner's Office prior
to December 31st to receive the exemption or any exemption for
the following year.
Industrial Abatements are also
available. To qualify, the owner of the property must file
with the Revenue Commissioner an application from the State
Department of Revenue and the local governing agency.
Timetable for Collection of Taxes
Taxes are collected on the
following schedule for the year ending on September 30:
delinquent & delinquent notices mailed.
letters mailed and court date set
all unpaid properties in a local newspaper
What methods of payment can I use?
Taxes are due every year the
first of October and are delinquent after December 31st, even if
you do not receive a notice.
Payments may be made as
- You may come by the Revenue
Commissioner's office at the Colbert County Courthouse
between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM Monday through
Friday. Cash, personal, check, money order, Visa and
Mastercard are accepted.
- You may pay by mail, by
check or money order, but it must be in the office by
- You my pay by phone, using
your MasterCard® or Visa®.
- You may pay by E-Mail using
your MasterCard® or Visa®. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You can have your mortgage
company pay your tax bill through escrow
If you purchased your property
during the year, you need to make sure the taxes are paid.
The tax bill will usually be in the previous owners name.
You are responsible for taxes on all property you own,
regardless of how the property is assessed or the tax bill my be
What happens if I do not pay my taxes?
Each year the taxes that are
not paid are auctioned off at a public sale at the County
courthouse. Individuals who come to the sale and buy Tax
Liens are issued a "Certificate of Purchase". If
no individual buys the tax lien, a Certificate of Purchase is
made out and delivered to the Alabama State Land Agent.
The property owner has three
years from the date of the tax sale to redeem the property from
the Revenue Commissioner by paying all taxes and associated
costs. If the property was bought at the tax sale by an
individual and the owner does not redeem it within three years
from the date of the tax sale, the individual who purchased the
property is entitled to a tax deed.
After a tax deed has been
issued, redemptions can no longer be made in the Revenue
Commissioner's Office, and the property owner must either make
and agreement with the tax lien holder or resort to a court of
law to reclaim the property.
What is considered Business Personal Property?
All businesses owning personal
property, aircraft, commercial mobile or portable units are
subject to ad valorem tax. The property must be listed and
assessed in the Revenue Commissioner's Office prior to December
31st each year. Failure to submit this information by the
deadline may result in additional fees and penalties.
Taxes become due on October
1st, the same as ad valorem tax on real property.
Delinquent personal property taxes are handled differently,
however. Beginning January 1st, when taxes become
delinquent, the Revenue Commissioner must proceed to collect the
taxes due or sell the property to satisfy the tax lien.
Personal property sold for taxes cannot be redeemed.
I live in a manufactured home, do I have to pay taxes?
The Alabama Manufactured Home
Act (91-694) signed into law July 18, 1991, changed the way
manufactured homes are treated for tax purposes in
Alabama. Under the Act, those manufactured homes located
on the owner's property and not held for rental or lease will be
assessed to the owner. All other manufactured home owners
must register and obtain a decal, the cost is based on the size
and age of the manufactured home. Manufactured home owners
who do not own the land where it is located must register within
30 days of purchase and renew each year on October the
1st. The become delinquent after November the 30th.
Do I pay a Fire Fee?
Yes, if you are outside the
city limits!! All livable dwellings, including
manufactured homes, outside the city limits of Tuscumbia,
Sheffield, or Muscle Shoals are charged a yearly $30.00 fire
fee. This law was voted on and passed by the citizens of
Colbert County. The $30.00 fee is divided between the
Volunteer Fire Departments of Colbert County.
There is also a .10 (ten cents)
per acre charge for timber on anything over 10 acres; which goes
to the Alabama Forestry Commission.