The assessment of property, except for utility owned property, for the purpose of property taxes in Kansas is the responsibility of the County Appraiser. The position is created by state statutes and is filled by appointment of the Board of County Commissioners in each county. The term of the appointment is four years.
Each County Appraiser and his or her staff must perform two basic duties. First, all property within the county must be inventoried. The types of properties most commonly handled at the county level are real property and personal property. Real property is the land and all improvements permanently affixed to the land. Personal property consists of material assets that are not permanently affixed to land such as business machinery and equipment, vehicles, boats, etc. In Kansas, gas and oil properties are treated as personal property for tax purposes.
The county mapping department inventories all real property and a permanent unique parcel identification number is assigned to each parcel. To assist with the inventory process, the County Appraiser's department also develops a property description for each parcel that is solely used for tax appraisal purposes. It is sometimes different from the legal description recorded in the Register of Deeds' office. When changes occur due to a sale of a portion of a parcel, parcel combinations or through new land plottings, new parcel numbers are assigned by the county's mapping department.
For each parcel of land, the improvements, such as buildings, must be measured and described through on-site inspections by field appraisers. State statutes require that all properties be physically inspected and remeasured by an appraiser at least once in a six year period. This helps insure that all new construction and changes to existing improvements are discovered and added to the tax rolls. It also helps clean up the current data on the property should errors be found. The County Appraiser's office also uses building permits provided by the county and the cities within the county to track new construction. Under current Kansas statutes, all real property is revalued annually.