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Public Utilities

Responsibilities

Annually discover, collect appraisal data, appraise and allocate, hold informal appraisal hearings, and distribute the taxable property of all public utilities, railroads and airlines in Alabama. This is done in accordance with Title 40-21-1 and subsequent sections of The Code of Alabama.

Process

The Public Utility Section completes unit appraisals each year on local, national, and international companies having property in all fifty states, Canada, and Mexico. Unitary appraisals are performed on each company using generally accepted fair market appraisal methods. This requires using all three approaches to value, including the market approach, the cost approach and the income approach, if sufficient data for each approach is available. As a part of this unitary appraisal process, the appraised value of fixed real and personal property located in Alabama and other states is apportioned to Alabama based on the gross investment in Alabama divided by the gross investment everywhere. For companies containing mobile property in their unitary appraisal, such as aircraft, other factors are added to the allocation process.

Once the state assessed value is determined, it is distributed back to each local Alabama taxing jurisdiction based on these same factors. Once this is completed the utility county assessments have to be totaled and certified to their respective counties in Alabama. The county taxing official then adds the respective state, county and city tax rate to each public utility assessment and sends a tax bill to each utility company.

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