The property tax is an ad valorem tax, that is, a tax based upon value.  It's the primary means by which local government pays for services it provides, such as police and fire protection, schools, roads, parks, courts, etc.  It involves two separate functions, the assessment function and the budget function.  After these functions are completed, the county auditor calculates the appropriate mill rate and that rate is applied to each taxable property to determine the property tax.

The assessor is responsible for discovering, listing and valuing all taxable property.  All real property is subject to taxation, unless expressly exempted by law.  All property is valued according to its value on February 1st of each year.  All real property is valued at True and Full Value.  For residential and commercial property, this equals market value.  For agricultural value, it equals its productivity value as defined by North Dakota statute.

The assessor must notify property owners when a True and Full Value increases 10% or more and by $3,000 or more.  In April of each year, the assessor's assessments are reviewed by the city or township boards of equalization.  Within the first ten (10) days of June, the county reviews the assessments of cities and townships.  During August of each year, the State Board of Equalization reviews the assessments as finalized by various counties.

The assessor, by the fair and accurate valuation of property, ensures that everyone shares equitably in the total burden of property taxation.