Code of Alabama § 40-3-16 - Duties Generally; Quorum; Powers and Duties of Agents; Protest Procedure

Section 40-3-16

Duties generally; quorum; powers and duties of agents; protest procedure.

It shall be the duty of the boards of equalization to inspect, review, revise, and fix the value of all the property returned to or listed with the assessing official for taxation each year; provided, that nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require the assessing official or boards of equalization to value any property required by the law to be assessed for taxation by the Department of Revenue.

The majority of the board of equalization shall constitute a quorum of the board for the performance of the duties required herein; provided, that at any time the Department of Revenue shall deem it necessary it may go or send or use agents or representatives in any county with authority to act in an advisory capacity and in conjunction with the board of equalization and perform other duties, with respect to the valuation and assessment of property for taxation, as may be required of them.

Agents or representatives of the Department of Revenue assigned to any county or counties for the purpose of advising with the boards of equalization with respect to valuing real and personal property for assessment for taxation shall have the power and authority to inspect, review, value, and assess any property subject to taxation, and the agents or representatives are authorized to fix values for assessment, subject to the approval of the board of equalization of the county in which the property is located. In cases where the agents or representatives have fixed a value for assessment, the value must be entered on the tax return of the taxpayer showing the day and date when value was fixed, and the agents or representatives shall certify to all values fixed by them.

It shall be the duty of each agent or representative assigned for duty in a given county or counties, as soon as letters of protest are filed with the board of equalization, to attempt to adjust, equalize, and settle the protest. To that end he or she shall notify as many of the protesting taxpayers, by mail at the address shown on the tax return, as he or she can reasonably interview, to meet him or her at the courthouse of the county on a given day, and others for the other days intervening prior to the date specified by the Department of Revenue, then and there to attempt to adjust the protest. If the taxpayer at the interview agrees with the tax agent on a valuation and consents in writing thereto on his or her return, the valuation shall be final, unless the board of equalization shall disapprove the same and notify the taxpayer, by mail at his or her address shown upon the return, of the disapproval and the date specified by the Department of Revenue when the board of equalization will hear the taxpayer on the assessment. All protests filed within time, which it shall be impossible for the tax agent or agents assigned to a given county to notify the taxpayer to report for an interview or having notified they fail to interview, and all protests of taxpayers who fail to report for the preliminary interview and all protests of taxpayers who so report and fail to agree upon a final valuation or whose agreed final valuation shall be disapproved by the board of equalization, shall be listed or docketed by the board of equalization for hearing by it. This list or docket shall be made up as nearly as may be in the order in which the protests were received by the board of equalization and shall be heard by the board of equalization substantially in the order so listed or docketed. At the hearing of these protests, beginning on the date specified by the Department of Revenue following the making of the assessments as herein elsewhere provided, the board of equalization shall accord each a reasonable time and opportunity within which to be heard, taking into consideration the total time available for hearing the protests, the number of protests pending, the amount and nature of the property involved in the given assessment, and all other relevant circumstances. The board of equalization shall cause each protesting taxpayer to be notified by mail at his or her address shown upon his or her assessment of the day and place when the board proposes to hear the taxpayer; and, if he or she shall present himself or herself on that day and not be heard, he or she shall be assigned another day certain for hearing and so on until he or she is heard. No taxpayer, agent, attorney, or adjuster shall be heard out of the order in which the protested assessment proposed to be heard appears upon the list or docket of protests if any other taxpayer whose protest appears first on the list or docket is present and ready to be heard.

The duties herein imposed upon boards of equalization are declared to be of prior and paramount importance; and, if any member of a board of equalization fails or refuses without good cause and legal excuse to attend upon and perform the duties, the failure or refusal shall constitute official misconduct and nonfeasance in office and subject the offender to removal from office.

No salary or compensation shall be paid any member of a board of equalization for any part of the period commencing on the date specified by the Department of Revenue of each year during which he or she shall be required to sit as a member of the board until he or she shall have first made and filed with the public officer disbursing the salary or compensation a sworn statement that during the period for which the salary or compensation is claimed he or she has performed faithfully and to the best of his or her ability his or her duties as a member of the board of equalization.

Every agent or representative of the Department of Revenue assigned to any county under the provisions of this chapter shall file each month with the Department of Revenue a sworn statement that he or she has performed faithfully and to the best of his or her ability the duties required of him or her hereunder before compensation for service is paid.

Immediately after January 1, of each year, the assessing official shall deliver to the board of equalization all assessments as returned to him or her, and thereafter shall deliver all additional assessments returned to him or her. The assessment sheet shall show the valuation fixed by the assessing official; and, if the valuation be agreed to by the taxpayer, the taxpayer shall endorse on the assessment sheet valuation accepted: _____ taxpayer, this _____ day of ____, 2__. If the valuation is satisfactory to the board of equalization, it shall endorse thereon: Approved _____ board of equalization and the date and signed by the chair; the approved assessments shall be final and no appeal shall lie therefrom.

(Acts 1939, No. 143, p. 178; Code 1940, T. 51, §103; Act 2007-381, p. 757, §1.)

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Last modified: November 15, 2016