Real property

Ad valorem taxes are levied by the State of Alabama and Cullman County on both real property and personal property (also known as “business personal property”). Real property includes land and its improvements (an improvement is anything that adds value to real property, such as a house, manufactured home, swimming pool, gazebo, chicken house, barn, shed, carport, garage, etc.). Business personal property refers to items which are movable or not permanently affixed to real property (land) or any items which are used in any business.

Taxes are collected for both real and personal property every fall, from October 1 through December 31. Please note ad valorem real and personal property taxes are collected a year in arrears. The State and County levy taxes in full on October 1 each year but does not collect those taxes until the following
October 1.

Given this information, please pay attention to the following important annual dates:

  • October 1: real and personal property taxes are due and payable.
  • December 31: last day to pay real and personal property taxes on time.
  • January 1: taxes become delinquent. Payments on or after this date will be charged delinquent tax fees plus interest at the rate of 12% per annum.
  • February 28: last day to pay real and personal property taxes via check: After this date all payments must be via certified funds such as a cashier’s check, credit card or debit card, or cash.
  • January: delinquent tax notices are mailed out.
  • March: trackable/traceable delinquent notices are mailed to delinquent property tax owners advising of the next tax lien auction.
  • First Tuesday of May (normally): annual tax lien auction.

Cullman County tax districts:

DistrictName
01County
02Cullman
03Hanceville
04Garden City
05Holly Pond
06Vinemont
07Good Hope
08Arab

Taxpayer responsibilities when they buy property:

The responsibility for assessing property (telling the Revenue Commission you have bought property and what it is used for) lies with the ownerIn other words, it is up to each respective owner to ensure all necessary steps for assessment of properties have been completed. At a minimum, the following steps should be completed:

  • Record your deed in the Probate Judge’s Office.
  • Assess your property in Revenue Commissioner’s Office.
  • Claim any exemption due you. Make sure all of this is done no later than December 31 for all property purchased by October 1.
  • Report all address changes.
  • Make sure the taxes are current and paid on the purchased property.

The responsibility for assessing property (telling the Revenue Commission you have bought property and what it is used for) lies with the ownerIn other words, it is up to the respective owner to ensure all necessary steps for assessment of properties have been completed. At a minimum, the following steps should be completed:

  • Record your deed in the Probate Judge’s Office.
  • Assess your property in Revenue Commissioner’s Office.
  • Claim any exemption due you. Make sure all of this is done no later than December 31 for all property purchased by October 1. Please report promptly all address changes.
  • Make sure the taxes are current and paid on the purchased property.

Improvements are defined by the State of Alabama as “anything that adds value to land,” such as a house, manufactured home, swimming pool, garage, gazebo, chicken house, barn, etc.

The Alabama State law requires that owners or their respective agents must come to their respective County’s Revenue Commission Office no later than December 31 to sign an assessment officially reporting any improvements made to or any removal of structures or features from their properties. Any change made on or before October 1 of that calendar year will be reflected on the next year’s tax statement. (Changes made after October 1 of that same calendar year will not be reflected on the next immediate statement but rather will be reflected up to two years later.)

Examples of improvements that are assessable would include new structures or additions, swimming pools, extensive repairs, remodeling, or renovations (such as adding a fireplace, extra bathroom, patio, deck, carport, garage, etc.).  Items such as re-roofing, minor repairs and painting, (normal maintenance items) do not require reassessment.

In the State of Alabama, there are four classifications of property on which ad valorem taxes are assessed. These classifications reflect the property type and designated use as indicated by the property owners. Any property that is not assessed by its owners under Class I, Class III, or Class IV is automatically assessed as Class II property.
 
ClassificationAssessment Rate
Class I – Property Owned by Utilitied30%
Clas II – All Other Property20%
Class III – Agricultural Property & Owner-Occupied Residential Property10%
Class IV – Private Passenger Vehicles15%
To determine the assessed value of a property, the classification rate is multiplied by the appraised value of the property (Appraised Value  X  Class % = Assessed Value). Taxes are  based on Assessed Value, less any qualifying exemptions.

Each taxpayer is required by Alabama Law (Code 40-7-1) to provide a complete list of all of his or her owned property. Any and every person acquiring property is responsible for reporting to the Revenue Commissioner a complete legal description of the property and should at that time claim any exemptions for which he or she is eligible. Every owner is responsible for providing to the Revenue Commissioner his or her correct mailing address for all properties. All property owners must report any changes in ownership to the Revenue Commissioner.

Real and personal property taxes are paid in arrears; the tax year begins on October 1 and ends September 30 of the next calendar year. (All assessments on record as of October 1 of each calendar year are due and payable the following October 1.)

Taxes on motor vehicles are paid in advance and are paid throughout the year on a renewal scheduled based upon the first letter of each respective owner’s last name.

The Alabama Manufactured Home Act (91-694) signed into law on July 18, 1991 changed the way manufactured homes are treated for tax and revenue purposes in Alabama. Under this Act, those manufactured homes located on an owner’s property and not held for rent or lease will be assessed on the real property tax rolls in the Revenue Commission Office. All others must be registered.

Proof of ownership, along with a description that includes size, ID number, year made and model of the manufactured home must be brought to the respective County’s Revenue Commission Office to make an assessment. Each manufactured home owner will receive a decal to display on the right front corner  of the home as proof that the taxes are paid.

A homestead exemption may be claimed by an owner-occupant of a manufactured homes provided the property and manufactured home is the owner’s primary residence as of October 1. Proof of title (if 1994 or later model) and proof of sales tax payment must be provided at the time of assessment/registration. All manufactured homes must be registered or assessed within 30 calendar days of purchase.

Renewal of manufactured home registrations for those who do not own their manufactured home and land is October/November each year. There is a $10.00 penalty for late registration. Persons over 65 or permanently and totally disabled should request exemption information prior to registration/renewal.

Owners of five acres or more of farmland, pastureland or timberland used to produce agricultural products, livestock, or wood products may apply for a Current Use exemption. This exemption allows for property to be assessed at less than market value when used only for the purposes specified here. Any owner of eligible property must make a formal application to the Revenue Commission Office if he or she wishes to claim Current Use.

Current Use applications may be obtained from the Revenue Commission Office at any time of the year, but under the Alabama State law, they must be filed with the Revenue Commission Office no later than December 31 for application on the next tax year’s ad valorem taxes. After Current Use has been granted, the owner who made application for current use does not have to re-apply for subsequent years; however, if the property ownership is transferred or the name is changed by deed or will, the new owner reflected by such change must file a new application for Current Use. Otherwise, ad valorem taxes will be calculated based on fair market value rather than current use values.

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