Earlier this month, on July 7, the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) announced the appointment of Sandra Cawyer as the Director of the Assessment Coordination Division (ACD). The ACD provides training, coordination, and guidance for local county assessors. She replaces her longstanding predecessor Bear Chaney, who had retired. Director Cawyer comes from Columbia County in south Arkansas (Magnolia), where she has been County Assessor for the past nine years.
ACD has seen changes in the past year in transitioning from being a freestanding agency to being part of DFA, as part of the wider state government transformation and reorganization. ACD seems to be playing an increasingly important role in property tax administration. In the coming year, Act 819 of 2019, one of the Arkansas Tax Reform bills, requires ACD to issue rules and mandatory guidelines about making property tax exemption determinations and about taxing business inventory. Ark. Code Ann. § 26-26-1125. These efforts will be of substantial interest to taxpayers. The rules must be finalized by May 1, 2021, and proposed rules must be filed before then. For sales tax purposes DFA has taken a narrow interpretation of what can qualify for the charitable exemption; query whether that will impact the ACD guidance and rulemaking effort in the property tax context.
Director Cawyer's appointment was also covered in the local newspapers (AMP; Dem-Gaz).