Summary of 2019 Arkansas Property Tax Legislation

Arkansas's 2019 legislative session saw numerous property tax bills enacted, including changes to pay-to-play rules for property tax appeals, statewide guidance on exemption determinations, homestead credit reform, and disclosures surrounding "dark store" valuations.

Act 509 provides that a county equalization board does not have jurisdiction over, and shall not accept, an application for adjustment for the valuation of producing mineral rights. 

Act 538 requires notice of the county assessor when mineral rights are subject to a division order or declaration of interest. Effective for 2020 and subsequent assessment years.

Act 561 provides for the portion of taxes and penalties collected from water transportation companies that is directly related to watercraft on the Arkansas River to be deposited for use by the Waterways Commission and for navigation improvement. 

Act 610 exempts from ad valorem property tax heavy equipment and motor vehicles under long-term (12 or more months) leases to federal, state, or local government. 

Act 657 generally requires payment of the undisputed amount of the assessment for a real property tax appeal (as was already for the case for personal property). Prior law had allowed a taxpayer to not pay any tax if it was disputing an assessment of tax on real property.

Act 737 requires disclosures around comparable properties for commercial and industrial property appeals. Effective July 1, 2019, it will apply to this fall's equalization and appeal process for the 2019 assessment year. Concern over "dark store" valuation was behind this legislation.

Act 762 changes the requirements for redemption of tax-delinquent land. Requires that all interested parties, as identified by the Commissioner of State Lands, be sent notice of the pending sale of tax delinquent land by certified mail.

Act 808 increases the homestead tax credit form $350 to $375, transfers certain surplus monies to fund county voting equipment grants, and provides that surplus monies (from the dedicated sales tax) in the future will transfer to the long-term reserve fund. The credit increase is effective for the 2019 assessment year and thereafter, and the fiscal provisions are effective April 11, 2019.

Act 819 is the tax reform bill that focuses on tax administration. Among its provisions, it requires the Assessment Coordination Department (ACD) to issue guidelines and rules to county assessors relating to property tax exemption determinations and to business inventory assessment. 

Act 831 allows an irrevocable trust to claim the homestead exemption if the property at issues is used as the principal place of residence of a beneficiary of the trust. 

Act 910, the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 is a comprehensive reorganization of Arkansas government to place various agencies under several cabinet-level departments. DFA will be one of the cabinet-level agencies, and the ACD will become part of DFA. This will involve DFA in property tax administration for the first time. 

Act 918 revises the procedure of the Commissioner of State Lands regarding the redemption of land certified to the state for nonpayment of taxes including the requirement to file a written petition and pay all outstanding taxes, penalties, interest, fees and costs in order to request redemption.  

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