Taxation Process

The Assessor has three major duties: to discover, list and estimate the value of all taxable property within the jurisdiction of the town.


  1. Step 1 - Assessed Value & the Tax Rate
  2. Step 2 - Discovering Property
  3. Step 3 - How the Assessor Goes About Valuing Property
  4. Step 4 - Listing Property
  5. Step 5 - The Market Approach
  6. Step 6 - The Cost Approach
  7. Step 7 - The Income Approach
  8. Step 8 - Valuing Property
  9. Step 9 - Why Assessed Value Can Change From Year to Year

The Assessor's primary responsibility is to find the fair market value of your property, so that you and other taxpayers may contribute a fair share of support for the community services you receive.

For these services to continue, other agencies, as well as the town, must levy taxes. Here again, state laws define the powers of these taxing agencies and the kinds of properties that are exempt from taxes, such as schools and churches.

Each year the governing bodies of the various taxing agencies propose budgets for the next year. To finance the expenditures in the budget, they total all expected sources of revenue such as state aids and shared taxes, license fees and tuition. This is subtracted from the estimated expenditures. The remainder, which is the total amount to be collected through property taxes, is the called the "tax levy." The amount of the tax levy for the Town of Salem depends on the size of the Town budget. The levy is raised by multiplying the value of all the property in the Town by a percentage, called the tax rate. The rate is the same for all property owners. When this tax rate is applied to the value of all the taxable property in the town, it will total to the exact amount of money needed for the levy to help finance Town expenses.

The tax rate is calculated by simply dividing the amount of taxes needed by the total assessed value of all taxable property in the Town.

Tax Rate equals Levy divided by Total Assessed Value

Once the rate is set, the assessed value of your property is used to determine your portion of the levy. The tax rate when multiplied by the assessed value of your property, equals what you owe in taxes -- your tax bill. The tax rate is often expressed in terms of dollars per thousand.

The entire taxation process requires the cooperation of several parts of Town government. The Assessor sets the value of your property. The Board of Selectmen and the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration determine the cost of Town services, thereby establishing the tax rate necessary to generate funds for these services.