Assessor FAQs
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why did my property taxes increase this year?

There are many factors that go into the Property Tax Rate determined by the NM Department of Finance and Administration (DFA). The total net taxable value of all counties, new construction, additional voter imposed General Obligation Bonds, and the amount of mill rate imposed by any specific entities all play a role in the calculation of property tax rates. The residential tax rate in Los Alamos County is 24.157 mills. The non-residential tax rate is 28.714

For more information regarding property taxes please visit our "Tax Rate" webpage

Q. I recently purchased a home, and the Notice of Valuation I received reflects a substantial estimated increase in taxable value; how can this happen? 

This may be an due to "tax lightning," an unintended consequence of the 3 percent cap, a New Mexico State law. In a rising real estate market, this is the difference between the previous year's assessed value and the actual market value after a property has been purchased.  County Assessor George Chandler wrote a tax lightning column that was issued on March 30, 2023.    

Q. Does the County Council superintend, manage or supervise the Assessor's Office?

No. The County Council has no superintending authority over the Assessor. Only the State Department of Taxation and Revenue has general supervision over the Assessor's activities.

Q. What does property valuation mean?

The valuation set for property by the County Assessor is an estimate of the market value of your property, which may include, your residence, vacant land, commercial property, or other taxable property.

Q. How are the changes in the value of my property determined?

The Assessor is required by state law to value property at 100 percent of its market value as determined by sales of comparable property. (See 7-36-15 NMSA 1978).

Q. When may exemptions be claimed?

Exemptions must be claimed between January 1st and the last day of February of the current tax year. Exemptions are removed if the property changes ownership and the new owner must apply by the last day of February of the next tax year.

Q. Must a manufactured home be assessed with the County Assessor?

Yes. By state law, manufactured homes must be assessed for property taxes. The Assessor requires a copy of the manufactured home vehicle registration or the title, along with the (manufactured home property or location.)

Q. I am in the process of moving or selling my manufactured home. What is required for me to do so?

By state law, manufactured home owners have to prepay taxes if they are going to sell or move their manufactured home to a new location. Current year taxes have to be paid before the manufactured home can be moved or the title is transferred to the new owner.

Q. Is there a limit on the increase of my property taxes?

Tax increases are subject to a yield control, which applies to county valuation as a whole, not to individual parcels. Yield control places a limit on the amount of taxes local governments may receive from reappraisal. It does not place a cap on how much a particular property's value may increase. It does place a cap on how much property tax local taxing agencies may receive. By limiting the annual amount of property taxes that can be collected, yield control limits the amount individual property owners will pay. Taxes assessed to retire voter approved bonded debt is not subject to yield control. The law limits the overall total tax increase for the operational budgets of most local governments. If the property tax base increases, then the average rate should decrease.

Q. What is a Notice of Value?

It is an advance notice of what the Assessor has determined a property was worth based in the prior year's market. Once a year you will receive a Notice of Value from the Assessor informing you of the assessed value of your property for that year.

Q. When will I receive my notice of value?

The Assessor is required to mail one Notice of Value for each assessed property by April 1 of each year.

Q. How does an appraiser value my property and why is the Assessor's valuation lower than a fee appraisal?

The Assessor's valuation may differ from a value estimate from a fee appraiser. Many reasons may explain the difference. One is that the Assessor's "effective date of valuation" is a fixed time in the past. The effective date of valuation for the Assessor's office for a given year is January 1 of the previous calendar year. A fee appraiser usually values a property as of a recent inspection date. Another reason is that recent legislation limits increases on the valuation for assessments on residential properties.

Business Personal Property

The Assessor is required by state law to assess business equipment. Tangible personal property is property "that is used, produced, manufactured, held for sale, leased or maintained by a person for purposes of the person's profession, business or occupation; and for which the owner has claimed a deduction for federal income tax purposes during any federal income taxable year occurring in whole or in part during the twelve months immediately preceding the first day of the property tax year" (NMSA 7-36-8), and is not permanently affixed to or part of real estate.

Q. When Must Business Personal Property be reported?

Businesses must report by the last day of February, each year.

Q. What Items should be reported?

  • Office furniture and fixtures, file cabinets, books and bookcases, desks and decorative items
  • Store equipment such as racks, shelves, shopping carts, equipment, typewriters, time clocks, and ATM's
  • Restaurant equipment including tables, booths, chairs, drink dispensers, freezers appliances, sinks and cookware.
  • Apartment, motel and hotel equipment including furniture, exercise equipment, appliances, lighting, and decorative items.
  • Machinery and heavy equipment as well as shop tools, dental tools, drilling equipment, portable sheds, dumpsters
  • forklifts, engraving machines, welding equipment and mortuary equipment.
  • Electronic equipment, such as sound systems, alarm systems, musical instruments, fax machines, computers, camera
  • Equipment, postage scales, vending machines, radios, televisions
  • small tools, and video recorders
  • Leased equipment is also assess able.


Under New Mexico Property Tax Law, NMSA 1978, chapter 7, there are two categories of individual property taxation exemptions and several categories of institutional and governmental exemptions. Individual exemptions are available for head of family and qualifying veterans. Institutional exemptions are available for governmental agencies, schools, service organizations (nonprofit), churches and special status exemptions.

Head of Family: If Property changes ownership after the 1st of the year, the exemption will be removed on January 1st of the following year and the new owner must apply by the last day of the 30-Day Protest Period to qualify for the new tax year.

Q. Who is eligible for the Head of Family Exemption and how is it applied?

The state statute on this reads: As used in this section, Head of the Family means an individual New Mexico resident who is either married; widow or widower; Head of Household furnishing more than one half the cost of support of any related person; or a single person.

Those eligible for this exemption must apply for it only once to receive it in subsequent years. Only one family exemption per household is permitted, and it must be the property in which the owner resides in the state of New Mexico. The Head of Household exemption is currently capped at $2,000.

Veteran Exemption: If property changes ownership after January 1st, the exemption will be removed on January 1st of the following year and the new owner must apply by the last day of the 30-Day Protest Period in order to qualify for that tax year (7-38-17 NMSA 1978).

Q. How is the Veteran Exemption status determined and how does it affect property taxes?

The New Mexico Veteran's Service Commission determines all eligibility and issues a certificate to all qualifying veterans. This certificate (original document only) may be used to claim the New Mexico Property Tax Exemption. Once the exemption is claimed, it is retained for subsequent years without having to reapply. Veterans with certificates should apply for exemption with the Assessor. Veterans have 30 days after the official mail date of their Notice of Value to apply. Surviving spouses may receive the exemption if they qualify with the New Mexico Veteran's Service Commission. For more information, call the Veterans Service Commission in Santa Fe at (505-827-6354 or 505-827-6374).

APPEALS PROCESS: Protesting Assessment Values

Q. When can I protest my valuation as determined by the Assessor?

A property owner may protest the value of classification by the Assessor, the allocation of the value of the property, or denial of a claim for exemption by filing a petition with the Assessor no later than 30 days after the mailing of the Notice of Value. A taxpayer may file a letter of inquiry and the Assessor may elect to resolve the question without going through a formal protest.

Q. What is the protest process if I disagree with the Assessor's valuation?

To start the protest process in the County, you should:

  • Protest Forms may be obtained through this website or by contracting the Assessor's Office
  • Fill out a Protest form.
  • Mail in the form or bring it to the Assessor's Office in person. It is helpful if you provide them with a copy of your documentation; do not give them your original.
  • An informal meeting may be set with a field appraiser.
  • A formal hearing with the Valuation Protest Board will be set
  • If the dispute is not resolved satisfactorily at the Board hearing, you may make an official appeal to the Court of Appeals.

Q. May I review my records at the Assessor's Office for my protest?

Yes, but you may review only your own property record card, no one else's. Property record cards are considered confidential and are not public information.

Q. How do I estimate my Property Taxes?

Taxable value on real and personal property is one third of the total appraised value, minus any allowable exemptions, such as Head-of-Household or Veteran's exemptions. Property in New Mexico is classified as residential or non-residential and is taxed at different rates.

Tax Rates as of 2022 for Los Alamos County:

Residential 0.024157

Non-Residential 0.028714

Example of Calculating Applicable Tax    
Full Value of Property Appraised Value   300000
Calculate Taxable Value Appraised Value / 3    
      300,000/3   100,000
Subtract Exemptions   Head of Family = $2,000  
      Veterans = $4,000    
      $2,000 + $4,000 = $6,000 ($6,000)
Net Taxable Value         94,000
Calculate Total Taxes Owed Net Taxable Value X *Mil Rate  
      $94,000 X 0.024157 $2,270.76

Contact Information

Chief Deputy Assessor 
Lucas Fresquez