Nebraska Revised Statute 77-1330
Property Tax Administrator and Tax Commissioner; guides for assessors; prepare; issue; failure to implement guide; corrective measures; procedures; cost; payment; State Treasurer; duties; removal of county assessor or deputy from office; appeal.
(1) The Property Tax Administrator and Tax Commissioner shall prepare, issue, and annually revise guides for county assessors in the form of property tax laws, rules, regulations, manuals, and directives. The Property Tax Administrator and Tax Commissioner may issue such directives without the necessity of compliance with the terms of the Administrative Procedure Act relating to the promulgation of rules and regulations. The assessment and appraisal function performed by counties shall comply with the standards, and county assessors shall continually use the materials in the performance of their duties. The standards shall not require the implementation of a specific computer software or hardware system if the existing software or system produces data and reports in compliance with the standards.
(2) The Property Tax Administrator, or his or her agent or representative, may examine or cause to have examined any books, papers, records, or memoranda of any county relating to the assessment of property to determine compliance with the laws, rules, regulations, manuals, and directives described in subsection (1) of this section. Such production of records shall not include the photocopying of records between January 1 and April 1. Failure to provide such records to the Property Tax Administrator may constitute grounds for the suspension of the assessor's certificate of any county assessor who willfully fails to make requested records available to the Property Tax Administrator.
(3) After an examination the Property Tax Administrator shall provide a written report of the results to the county assessor and county board. If the examination indicates a failure to meet the standards contained in the laws, rules, regulations, manuals, and directives, the Property Tax Administrator shall, in the report, set forth the facts and cause of such failures as well as corrective measures the county or county assessor may implement to correct those failures.
(4) After the issuance of the report of the results of the examination, the Property Tax Administrator may seek to order a county or county assessor to take corrective measures to remedy any failure to comply with the materials described in subsection (1) of this section. Such corrective orders may only be issued after written notice and a hearing before the Tax Commissioner conducted at least ten days after the issuance of the written notice of hearing. The performance of such corrective measures shall be implemented by the county to which the order is issued. If the county fails to implement such corrective measures, the Property Tax Administrator may seek to suspend the assessment function of the county under the terms of subsection (5) of this section and shall implement the corrective measures pursuant to subsection (6) of this section. The performance of such corrective measures shall be a charge on the county, and upon completion, the Property Tax Administrator shall notify the county board of the cost and make demand for such cost. If payment is not received within one hundred twenty days after the start of the next fiscal year, the Tax Commissioner shall report such fact to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall immediately make payment to the Department of Revenue for the costs incurred by the department for such corrective measures. The payment shall be made out of any money to which such county may be entitled under the Compressed Fuel Tax Act, Chapter 77, articles 27 and 35, and sections 66-482 to 66-4,149.
(5) If, within one year from the service of the order, the measures in the corrective order have not been taken, the Tax Commissioner (a) may, at any time during the continuance of such failure, issue an order requiring the county assessor and county board to show cause why the authority of the county with respect to assessments or any matter related thereto should not be suspended, (b) shall set a time and place at which the Tax Commissioner or his or her representative shall hear the county assessor and county board on the question of compliance by the county assessor or county with the laws, rules, regulations, manuals, directives, or corrective orders described in this section, and (c) after such hearing shall determine whether and to what extent the assessment function of the county shall be so suspended. Such hearing shall be held at least ten days after the issuance of such notice in the county.
(6) During the continuance of a suspension pursuant to subsection (5) of this section, the Property Tax Administrator shall succeed to the authority and duties from which the county has been suspended and shall exercise and perform the same. Such exercise and performance shall be a charge on the suspended county. The suspension shall continue until the Tax Commissioner finds that the conditions responsible for the failure to meet the minimum standards contained in the laws, rules, regulations, manuals, and directives have been corrected.
(7) The Property Tax Administrator, subject to rules and regulations to be published and furnished to every county assessor and county board, shall have the power to petition the Tax Commissioner to invalidate the certificate of any assessor or deputy assessor who willfully fails or refuses to diligently perform his or her duties in accordance with the laws, rules, regulations, manuals, and orders issued by the Tax Commissioner governing the assessment of property and the duties of each assessor and deputy assessor. No certificate shall be revoked or suspended except after notice and a hearing before the Tax Commissioner or his or her designee. Such hearing shall be held at least ten days after the issuance of such notice in the county. Prior to revocation, a one-year probationary period, subject to oversight by the Tax Commissioner, shall be imposed. At the end of the one-year probationary period, a second hearing shall be held. If assessment practices have improved, the probationary period shall end and no revocation shall be made. If assessment practices have not improved, the assessor certificate shall be revoked. If during the probationary period, the assessor continues to willfully fail or refuse to diligently perform his or her duties, the Tax Commissioner may immediately hold the second hearing. If the county assessor certificate of a person serving as assessor or deputy assessor is revoked, such person shall be removed from office by the Tax Commissioner, the office shall be declared vacant, and such person shall not be eligible to hold that office for a period of five years after the date of removal. The Tax Commissioner shall mail a copy of his or her written order to the affected party within seven days after the date of the order.
(8) All hearings described in this section shall be governed by the Administrative Procedure Act. Any county aggrieved by a determination of the Tax Commissioner after a hearing pursuant to subsections (4) and (5) of this section or alleging that its suspension is no longer justified or any assessor or deputy assessor whose county assessor certificate has been revoked may appeal within thirty days after the date of the written order of the Tax Commissioner to the Tax Equalization and Review Commission in accordance with section 77-5013.
The guides referred to herein are necessarily no more than guidelines to be employed in arriving at an ultimate assessment against a particular taxable unit which meets the constitutional and statutory requirements that property be taxed uniformly and proportionately, at an amount which does not exceed actual value; the same is true of all things except constitutionally valid property tax laws per se. Beynon Farm Products v. Bd. of Equalization, 213 Neb. 815, 331 N.W.2d 531 (1983).
Application of Department of Revenue guidelines for allowance of economic depreciation raises a presumption that the resulting assessment is correct; however, the guidelines must give way to evidence showing that such application will violate the constitutional requirement of uniform and proportionate taxation or the statutory requirement of taxation at actual value. Farmers Co-op Assn. v. Boone County, 213 Neb. 763, 332 N.W.2d 32 (1983).