Fair Market ValueFair market value is defined by the Louisiana Revised Statute 47:2321 as follows: "Fair market value is the price for property which would be agreed upon between a willing and informed buyer and a willing and informed seller under usual and ordinary circumstances. It shall be the highest price estimated in terms of money which property will bring if exposed for sale on the open market with reasonable time allowed to find a purchaser who is buying with knowledge of all the uses and purposes to which the property is best adapted and for which it can be legally used." Finding the "fair market value" of your property involves discovering the price most people would pay for it in its present condition. The assessor must do this for every parcel of property in the parish. In addition, the assessor must re-value every parcel of property at least once every four years. This is required by the Louisiana State Constitution.
In some cases, the Constitution will give property owners of certain types of property an advantage when calculating the "market value" for assessment purposes. Timber, agricultural, and marsh lands are examples of special types. Lands of this type that may have a true "market value" of $3,000.00 per acre are allowed to have a "market value" for assessment purposes of about $150.00 per acre.
The Louisiana State Constitution does not treat all classes of property owners equally. Some classes of property owners have special exemptions granted to them. The only way to have 100% equity in property valuations and taxes is to eliminate all exemptions granted in the State Constitution.
The assessor must try to achieve as much equity as possible in the valuation of parish properties. This is difficult because he/she is required by law to comply with the provisions of a State Constitution filled with exceptions which prevent equity.