The assessors are required to ensure the accuracy of the assessment data yearly. The Board must obtain state certification every 5 years verifying that the property valuations meet the state criteria for fair market value. The proposed assessments are provided to the DOR for statistical testing and confirmation. The DOR checks the assessed values for accuracy - both sold and unsold properties - by comparing them to actual property sales.
Overall, regardless of the method used, the statistically derived estimates must fall within a ten percent range of actual selling prices (properties are grouped by various categories, such as neighborhood or building style) in order to satisfy state guidelines. Once approved by the DOR, the new assessments are available to the taxpayers, for review on-line and they can meet with the Principal Assessor to discuss if needed. After a week of review the values will receive final certification.
How a Property Tax Bill is Calculated
Each annual property tax bill is calculated by multiplying the assessed value of the property by the current tax rate. The tax rate is expressed in dollars per thousand of value. The tax rate in Manchester is the same for both residential and commercial properties. Property taxes are due in four quarterly installments. The first and second tax bills of a fiscal year state the preliminary tax, whereas the third bill is the actual tax bill. It is usually mailed to taxpayers in December. The third and fourth tax bills show the current assessment and the residential tax rate.
The tax rate is determined by the size of the town budget for the fiscal year (July 1st through June 30th). The budget is decided each year at Annual Town Meeting in April. Taxpayers are encouraged to attend Town Meeting and to vote on budget items, thereby setting budgets and, indirectly, the tax rate.