The county assessor is an elected official in county government. The Constitution of the State of Arkansas provides for the election of the Assessor to a two-year term of office with the requirements that he/she be a qualified elector and resident of the county. In the event of a vacancy in the office, the quorum court fills the vacancy by appointment, the appointee serving until the next general election, when a successor is elected and qualified. Before beginning his/her duties, the assessor must enter into official bond, to guarantee his/her proper performance of the duties. This may be accomplished either through the State Fidelity Bond Program , which covers all employees on the payroll, or a Fidelity Bond purchased for the officer. The county assessor must also take the constitutional oath of office.
The county assessor is entitled to that salary fixed for his/her office by applicable law and quorum court appropriation, but he/she cannot keep the various commissions and fees collected in the performance of his duties as the assessor, as in that respect, he/she is only an agent or trustee for the county treasury.
To assist the assessor in the performance of his/her duties, the Assessor may appoint such number of appraisers/deputies as the quorum court may approve. The assessor generally supervises the appraisers/deputies and may discharge them and regulate their employment, within the guidelines established by the quorum court.
The office of the county assessor is to be operated according to the office budget which is established annually by the quorum court of the County.
In general, the duty of the county assessor is to appraise and assess all real property between the first Monday in January and the first day of July (ACA 26-26-1101). On and after January 1, 1991, taxpayers shall annually assess their tangible personal property for ad valorem taxes during the period from January 1 through May 31 (ACA 26-26-1408). Taxable tangible personal property of new residents and new businesses established between January 1 and May 31, and taxable tangible personal property acquired by residents during the period from January 1 through May 31, except tangible personal property acquired during the period of May 2 through May 31 shall be assessable without delinquency within thirty (30) days following the date of its acquisition. All taxable tangible personal property assessable during this period shall be assessed according to its market value as of the first day of January of the year of the assessment (ACA 26-26-1408). The ten percent (10%) penalty for delinquent assessment shall not apply to tangible personal property becoming eligible for assessment through May 31, if the property is assessed on or before May 31, except that the tangible personal property acquired during the period of May 2 through May 31, shall be assessable without penalty within thirty (30) days following the date of its acquisition. (ACA 26-26-1408). All property in the state shall be assessed according to its value on the first day of January, except merchants and manufacturers inventories which are assessed at their average value during the year immediately preceding the first of January (ACA 26-26-1201) and motor vehicle dealer inventories which are determined by calculating the monthly average of the number of sales of new and used motor vehicles by the dealer and multiplying the average by the unit inventory value (ACA 26-26-1207).
The assessor must make an abstract of assessments showing the total assessed value of the county. On or before the third Monday in August, the assessor turns over to the county clerk his Real Property Assessment Book and on or before July 31, the assessor shall deliver the Personal Property Assessment Book likewise to the County Clerk (ACA 26-26-716). The county assessor has the legal authority to make any error corrections in the real or personal property tax books after they have been delivered to the county collector provided that the proper pre-numbered triplicate form is used. (ACA 26-28-111).
The Assessor is required to maintain current appraisal and assessment records by securing necessary field data and making changes in valuations as they occur in land use and improvements. He/she is also charged with staying abreast of all property transactions within the county and keeping a file on all properties updated throughout the year.
The records of the county assessor's office constitute the report of or appraisal of all the taxable property and persons in the county; therefore, it is necessary that they be accurately recorded and well maintained.