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Surprised by your tax bill?

NATCHEZ — As tax day approaches and Adams County residents start paying closer attention to the tax bill they received earlier this month, some of them are noticing uncomfortable increases.

That’s because the state mandates property value reassessment every four years, and Tax Assessor Reynolds Atkins said he is required to use the tax commission’s method for coming up with a new value for property.

When he used that method recently, property values increased.

“The values were too low assessed, and we brought them up to where they should be,” he said.

“The tax commission does these ration studies where they compare sales in these areas and come up with a square-foot cost for most houses, and they said (to me) ‘You are not coming up to it.’ (Assessments) have to be at least 80 percent of (the state’s estimated) value, and in most cases I was at 50 percent.”

Atkins said he understand that people are upset about the increase in their tax bill.

“Any time you are going to mess with someone’s money, they are going to object,” he said. “I don’t blame them.”

While the assessments for this year are set, Atkins said residents can object to the assessment — even if it remains the same — next July.

“If they object to me, they just need bring a recent appraisal from an appraiser and a copy of their fire insurance so we can get a second opinion of what the property is worth,” Atkins said. “In most instances, they would agree it is worth more than we had down.”

Tax rates also increased slightly this year because of an additional 1.56-mills the Natchez-Adams County School District levied.

Tax Collector Peter Burns said he has heard complaints about the taxes, but he is required to collect all of it.

“My office is the collecting office, and we don’t set any of those things,” he said. “The assessor values the property taxes, and the state assesses the value of vehicles for your tag.”

But regardless of complaints — or even receiving notice — taxes are due Feb. 1, Burns said.

“We do send out the notices, but some people don’t receive them and they will object that they didn’t receive it,” he said. “If they didn’t receive a real estate notice, they need to contact the assessor’s office and find out their Personal Property Identification Number, and then they can contact us, give us that number and we can pull up their information and give them the amount.”

Burns said he has no authority to forgive penalties or interest on unpaid taxes.

Adams County allows partial tax payments to be made, but the taxpayer will still have to pay half of the tax bill by Feb. 1, Burns said.

Taxpayers will notice a slight increase in their vehicle tag assessment this year because of the NASD increase.