Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

TAX COMMISSION. PROPERTY TAX DIVISION

Agency History #816

CREATION

The Tax Commission (#1146) established two main departments shortly after its creation by legislative act in 1931. One of these departments was Property Tax.

The mission of the Property Tax Division is "to insure that property assessment and taxation is accurately and equitably administered throughout the state through management of a locally administered, Tax Commission-directed property tax system."

FUNCTIONS

From the beginning, the Property Tax division has been responsible for the oversight of local assessment and appraisal of property for which the Commission has sole jurisdiction.

The division handles the direct assessment of mines and utilities, which expanded through the growth of such companies to mean natural resources (e.g., mines, oil, gas) and large companies with multistate or multicounty operations (e.g., utilities, airlines, motor and rail carriers). This assessed value is then allocated to the various counties.

The division is also responsible for the training, assistance, and general supervision of county assessors and other local property tax administrators, ensuring accurate and equitable assessment of real and personal property by reviewing local assessment practices. Since 1953, as legislated, this last has included reappraisal of all real and personal property in the state on a regular shedule.

ADMINISTRATION

The Property Tax division is administered by a director hired by the Executive Director (Administration Division #1198) of the Tax Commission who in turn is appointed by the Tax Commission, a constitutional body composed of four commissioners appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. One of the commissioners is also assigned to work with the Property Tax Division, although the Commission at large is responsible for all tax matters.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

In 1931 the Property Tax Department was directly under the Commission. In the early years, the work of the Commission was highly integrated and its departments loosely organized. The organization was referred to interchangeably as the Property Tax Division. By 1940, the Property Tax Department included the Engineering Department responsible for uniform assessment. This department split into a separate division by 1942, but was moved back into the Property Tax Department by 1950. By 1954, the Property Tax Department contained two main sections: the property tax division and the property reappraisal division. A third section, the land specialist, was added briefly around 1956.

By 1969, the Property Tax Division included sections for Local Property Tax and State Property Tax, each with its own assistant director. These sections began splitting into separate divisions beginning with Local Property around 1970. By 1974, there were three main divisions dealing with property taxation: the State Assessed Property Division, the Local Valuations Division, and the Personal Property Division (separated from Local Valuation in fiscal year 1971-1972).

However, these divisions were reunited in 1983 following recommendations made by the Committee on Executive Reorganization. The reorganized division once again had a single director with one of the commissioners having property tax as his area of responsibility. In 1984, the Tax Commission appointed their first Executive Director; the Property Tax Division director was moved under him rather than being directly under the Commission. There were three sections within the Property Tax Division: Valuation, Central Assessment, and Research & Administration each headed by an assistant director. In 1987, the Property Tax Division reorganized its resources creating two primary sections--local services and centrally assessed property.

PRIOR NAMES

The terms "division" and "department" are used interchangeably in tax commission publications. In the late 1960s, Property Tax was also referred to by some as the "Ad Valorem Division."

DIRECTORS

Sybil Hopkins, ca. 1942-1945

Albert Eccles, ca. 1949

Elliot Kimball, ca. 1953

Max Kerr, ca. 1958-ca. 1973

Max Kerr, State Assessed ca. 1974-ca. 1979

Arthur L. Partridge, Local Valuations 1971-1979

James V. Kesler, Personal Property, ca. 1974-ca. 1982

Robert H. Cooper, State Assessed 1979-ca. 1983

Douglas L. Holmberg, Local Valuations, 1980-ca. 1982

Joseph Dunlop, Local Valuation, ca. 1982-ca. 1983

Robert Stringham, Personal Property, ca. 1982-ca. 1983

J. Mike Monson, Property Tax, 1983-

COMPILED BY: A.C. Cone, September 1993

SOURCES

Administrative Rules. Utah Administrative Code, 1967, 1987, (Series 83623)

Information Technology Services. Telephone directories, 1934-1993, (Series 5790)

Legislature. Laws of Utah, 1930-1993, (Series 83155)

Legislature. Utah Code Annotated, 1933-1953, (Series 83238)

Property Tax Division. Talk by Max H. Kerr, Director, 1967.

Secretary of State. Compiled Digest of Administrative Reports, 1958-1966.

Secretary of State. Public Documents, 1930-1956, (Series 240)

Tax Commission. Annual Reports, (Series 2336)